Chiba bid-rigging builders face fine

JIJI

The Fair Trade Commission is notifying more than 30 construction companies in Chiba Prefecture of its decision to fine them a total of around ¥200 million for rigging bids for projects ordered by the prefectural government.

The FTC concluded that the companies violated the anti-monopoly law by prearranging bids for public works projects, including reconstruction work after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, sources said Wednesday.

In addition to the fine, the anti-monopoly watchdog will issue a cease-and-desist order, the sources said.

The FTC found that beginning in 2009 or earlier, the firms colluded in bidding for disaster reconstruction and road repair projects ordered by the prefecture’s civil engineering office in Sammu.

Member companies of the Sammu branch of the prefectural construction association led the scheme to decide winning bidders, the sources said.

Some of the transgressions reportedly involved 11 reconstruction projects worth some ¥790 million in northeast Chiba, including Sammu and the town of Kujukuri, after beach and river levees were damaged by the March 2011 disasters.