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2009年11月16日 (月)

ムダ根絶―もっと使える検査院に

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 14(IHT/Asahi: November 16,2009)
EDITORIAL: Wasteful spending.
ムダ根絶―もっと使える検査院に

A staggering 236.4 billion yen of taxpayer money was spent in wasteful and otherwise questionable ways in fiscal 2008, according to the Board of Audit's recently released report on its investigation into the government's expenditures.
The amount, a record for inappropriate government spending, is larger than the 220 billion yen target for reducing the annual natural increase in social security spending set by the previous Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito coalition government.
 2364億円。自公政権が年間の社会保障費の抑制目標とした2200億円を上回る金額である。それだけの税の無駄遣いと不適切な経理処理のあったことが、会計検査院の昨年度検査で明らかにされた。史上最高の規模だ。

This figure only represents the tip of the iceberg of what the watchdog could uncover with its limited-scope investigation. The complete picture would likely be far more disturbing.
 これとても検査院が検査した範囲で判明した分であり、氷山の一角にすぎまい。全体の実態はさらに深刻とみたほうがいい。

One dubious practice known as azuke (depositing) involves keeping budget surpluses at contractors by cooking up fictitious orders. The investigation by the board found that this gimmick was used widely by ministries, agencies, local governments and government-affiliated bodies.
The board also uncovered caches of maizokin (buried money), or the part of funds for effectively finished projects that has been left unspent but has been stashed away without being returned to state coffers.
 あまった予算を、物品などを発注したことにして業者にプールする「預け」という手口は、省庁や自治体、関連団体で横行していた。事業の役割が終わっているにもかかわらず、事業費を国庫に返さずにため込む「埋蔵金」もあちこちで発掘された。

As usual, the audit found many cases in which private contracts were awarded without competitive bidding to businesses offering cushy jobs to retiring bureaucrats. Such deals typically cost taxpayers a lot more than contracts given through bidding.
 受注業者の選定にあたって競争入札をせずに、天下り先の業者と随意契約してコスト削減を怠っていた事例も相変わらず多い。

Taxpayers should be angry about such outrageous wastes of their money at a time when state finances are in a crisis and people are suffering from a harsh recession.
 財政が危機的状態にあり、国民が不況にあえぐ中でも続く役所の節操のない無駄遣い。納税者はもっと怒っていいのではないか。

Eliminating waste and inefficiency in government spending is the most important policy promise made by the government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. In line with this pledge, the Government Revitalization Unit, tasked with ferreting out unnecessary and wasteful expenditures, is reviewing hundreds of programs.
 税金の無駄や非効率を改めることは、鳩山政権の最大の公約だ。それに沿って、予算の無駄を洗い出す行政刷新会議の事業仕分けが始まっている。

Many of the programs identified by the task force as problematic, such as the GX rocket development project, were also criticized by the Board of Audit for inefficiency.
 たとえば難航しているGXロケットの開発などのように、行政刷新会議で取り上げられた事業の多くは、検査院も非効率だと指摘したものだ。

The two systems for scrutiny of government spending should be regarded as essential and mutually reinforcing weapons for eradicating wasteful outlays.
 この二つのシステムを無駄撲滅の両輪と考えたい。

The findings from the board's investigation can be used by the government's team for more effective evaluation of expenditures by government organizations.
検査結果をフィードバックすることによって、より効果的な予算の査定もできるのではないか。

However, it is necessary to enhance the board's functions, powers and resources drastically.
 そのためには検査院の機能や権限、態勢などを思い切って強化すべきだ。

Of the inappropriate accounting practices that have been pointed out to date, 481 cases involving 13.1 billion yen remained uncorrected, according to the report.
 検査院がこれまでに指摘した不正経理のうち、改善されていないものが481件、131億円分もあった。

The government should empower the board to order measures to fix the problems in such cases while establishing punishment for inappropriate accounting practices by government branches and affiliated entities.
 このようなケースでは、検査院に改善を命じる権限を与え、不正経理については罰則を設けることも検討していいのではないか。

To deter wrongdoing involving entire organizations, the government should consider creating a leniency program that grants whistle-blowers exemption from or reduction in punishment.
組織的な不正行為を内部告発した職員については、本人の処分を免除したり、軽減したりすることも考えたい。

The board's 1,300-strong workforce should be expanded. One way to accomplish this is to hire more outside experts such as lawyers, prosecutors and certified public accountants who have experience tackling misuse of public funds.
 約1300人の職員態勢も増強するべきだろう。公金の不正支出問題を追及してきた弁護士や検事、公認会計士など、外部の人材も積極的に登用していくことだ。

The Board of Audit, established according to the Constitution, is a politically neutral institution independent of the Cabinet.
 会計検査院は憲法で設置が定められ、政治的に中立な立場を貫くために内閣から独立した機関となっている。

Neutrality is the most important factor for the effectiveness of the board's operations.
 独立性はなによりの武器だ。

But officials of the board continue to retire into plum jobs at government-affiliated organizations subject to audits by the watchdog. This amakudari practice should stop.
ところが、検査の対象となる独立行政法人などへの天下りが絶えないのはどうしたことか。やめるべきである。

Before the August Lower House election, both the ruling and opposition parties at that time submitted bills to the Upper House to beef up the board. But these bills have all since been scrapped.
 政権交代前の参議院には、当時の与野党がそれぞれ検査院の強化法案を提出したが、いずれも廃案となった。

We hope the government and the Diet will start afresh working on legislation to strengthen this vital organization.
政府と国会は、あらためて必要な法制化に取り組んでほしい。

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