• Kyodo


The Sendai District Court on Tuesday delayed its decision on whether an arrested former senior official of the Osaka High Public Prosecutor’s Office should be allowed to testify as a witness in an ongoing case over the disclosure of investigative expenditure figures.

A group of citizens’ ombudsmen in Sendai filed the lawsuit in an attempt to win the release of spending figures for investigations by the Sendai High Public Prosecutor’s Office and Sendai District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

On Monday, the group submitted to the Sendai District Court a deposition by the arrested former official, Tamaki Mitsui of the Osaka High Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In the deposition, Mitsui reportedly disclosed how off-the-book funds were raised and how investigative funds were used unlawfully.

A decision on whether Mitsui will be allowed to testify will come at the next court session, scheduled for Sept. 10, according to court officials.

The court delayed its decision to give prosecutors time to submit their side of the argument.

The court has also reserved judgment on a request by prosecutors that a former deputy prosecutor of the Sendai High Public Prosecutor’s Office be allowed to testify in the case.

Mitsui, 58, was arrested in April and charged May 10 with conspiring with gangsters to prove he was occupying a condo in Kobe by submitting a fake moving-in notice to the Chuo Ward office last summer in a bid to receive tax breaks.

Mitsui has also been charged with accepting bribes from a mobster in exchange for information relating to court investigations.

It is the first time Mitsui’s accusations of diverting investigative money have been brought before a court.

He alleged in his deposition that prosecutors took various steps to obtain off-the-book funds, the group said. These included payments to bogus informants and fake business trips, with the money being used by senior prosecutors for golf, mah-jongg and ritzy restaurants.

Mitsui, who was head of the Osaka office’s public security department, was fired over the scandal May 10.

He had been preparing to accuse senior prosecutors of misusing expenses before his arrest in April, and has been claiming that the prosecutors arrested him to keep him quiet, according to his lawyer and other informed sources.

Prior to his arrest, he told Kyodo News senior prosecutors misused research activity expenses, allocated to prosecutors and Justice Ministry officials to obtain necessary information from informants, and that he was ready to detail in the Diet the illegal use of taxpayers’ money.

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