The U.N. Children’s Fund denied any links Monday to an alleged misuse of funds involving an official of the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry, saying the money had been paid to the ministry as a commission and it was not entrusted to the ministry by the U.N. agency.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry revealed Friday that a former head of the budget and accounts division at the minister’s secretariat purchased a 2 million yen restaurant membership in 1975 with money allocated by UNICEF for procuring aid materials in Japan.
UNICEF’s Tokyo office confirmed in a statement Monday that the entity began entrusting MITI, the predecessor of METI, with the procurement of aid supplies, including vaccines and school building materials, in 1961 and paid 1 percent of the total procurement costs to MITI as a commission.
“The payment of the 1 percent administrative expenditures continued until around 1970. The money was not a fund entrusted to MITI but paid to the ministry as legitimate expenditures under the two parties’ agreement,” UNICEF said.
The U.N. body is “not at all responsible for the management of the funds within the ministry and has no knowledge of how the money was used,” the statement said.
Following the release of the statement, vice METI chief Hideji Sugiyama said the ministry is considering donating to UNICEF the money paid to MITI.
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