A civic ombudsman association filed a criminal accusation with prosecutors Thursday against a former trade ministry bureaucrat who allegedly embezzled 24 million yen in public money, association members said.

The Japan Citizens Ombudsman Association lodged the accusation against Taizo Nakatomi, a former official of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

“We believe he deserves criminal prosecution, but METI won’t take action,” said Satoshi Shinkai, a lawyer who heads the association’s secretariat. “As an organization checking wasteful use of taxpayer money, we will not overlook this.”

The accusation was filed at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office, which said it is considering the complaint, the members said.

Nakatomi left the ministry on June 6 after it was found he was using public funds to trade in shares of Kanebo Ltd. and other companies around April 2004.

The money he used was part of leftover funds pooled between 1988 and 1993 and entrusted to the ministry by an affiliated research institute, the ministry said.

Successive heads of the planning office managed the funds, which were originally subsidies to the institute from a bicycle racing trade group under METI’s supervision, the ministry said.

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