The interim results of the Defense Agency’s in-house probe of a suspected coverup in an overcharging scandal will be released in October, a month later than originally scheduled, the agency said Monday.
Citing inconsistencies in comments by agency employees, Masahiro Akiyama, the agency’s vice minister, said release of the findings in September is unlikely. “Our investigative team has questioned some 190 staffers so far, and we have many pieces of information that need to be clarified before we make them public,” Akiyama told a news conference.
Agency officials have confirmed that cardboard boxes containing documents were moved out of the agency’s Central Procurement Office under the orders of senior officials before the prosecutors’ raid Sept. 3.
The raid was made in connection with alleged breach of trust charges involving the agency’s procurement of defense equipment. The agency has maintained that its probe will clarify whether the documents were related to the September raid and therefore whether their removal could be considered a coverup attempt by officials.
Akiyama said the agency began examining its procurement system with NEC Corp. as well as NEC affiliates late last year when it was suspected that the electronics giant was overcharging the agency for defense equipment.
The move was part of a program to review its deals with the agency’s 270 major contractors, he said. “We have investigated NEC as well — to the degree that the firm consented to. But at the moment, we cannot make any comment about its (reported) overcharging,” Akiyama said.
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