Institute ‘spent thousands on costly furniture’

AFP-JIJI

A publicly funded research institute that has accused one of its own scientists of faking data spent tens of thousands of dollars on expensive furniture, reportedly to use up its budget.

The respected Riken Institute, headed by Nobel chemistry laureate Ryoji Noyori, spent almost ¥10 million ($100,000) during two shopping sprees in March 2011 at Cassina Ixc., a maker and importer of top-range furniture, publicly released information shows.

In its latest edition, Shukan Bunshun magazine cites a former Riken researcher as saying the lavish spending was part of a drive to use up its approximately ¥100 billion budget before the April 1 end of the fiscal year.

“When I was at the institute, it was having a tough time spending its budget within a fiscal year, so it would frequently do interior renovations,” the unidentified researcher was quoted as saying.

A Riken spokesman said the furniture was appropriate for a building that receives “guests from overseas.”

“The building where the furniture is located was completed in February of that year, and the furniture was ordered to be on schedule for the completion of the new building,” he said.

The furniture was purchased for Riken’s facilities in Kobe.