Hokkaido officials return taxpayers’ money

Officials at the Hokkaido Prefectural Government on April 30 refunded a total of 180 million yen, including interest, to the government’s finance office.

The refunded money was originally taxpayers’ money that was used for improper expenses, such as for fictitious business trips. The 180 million yen includes about 48 million yen in expenses from fiscal 1992 through 1995 that the audit inspection commissioners identified as fictitious outlays in February.

The Hokkaido government made public last year another 158 million yen in fictitious expenses at the corporation bureau and health centers. The government decided to refund 180 million yen, which included interest, government officials said.

The Hokkaido officials had already decided in March last year to refund 2 billion yen in improper outlays after a number of money-spending scandals came to light. In order to refund the money, management officials have secured a loan from the mutual loan society for government officials, which they will repay over 10 years, the officials said. The inspection by the audit commissioners in February also identified another 2.1 billion yen that had been spent through “inappropriate” procedures in the same period, while adding that government officials are not obliged to pay this sum back.