Six more officials of Japan Highway Public Corp. are suspected of involvement in rigging official bids in connection with bridge building contracts, President Takeshi Kondo said Thursday.

According to an internal investigation by the government-affiliated body, the six officials — three at the head office in Tokyo and three at a local branch — leaked information about contracts beforehand, and two of them said leaks were common practice.

The latest investigation covered about 850 employees and 214 vendors on bridge or tunnel construction work ordered in fiscal 2003 and 2004, the highway corporation said.

Kondo said Japan Highway is considering punishing them, including dismissal, as well as seeking damages after a further investigation expected to be conducted jointly by three companies that are to emerge after the corporation’s Oct. 1 privatization.

On the bid-rigging allegations, the Fair Trade Commission is expected to order the highway body to soon take preventive steps.

The Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office last month indicted former Vice President Michio Uchida and former Director Tsuneo Kaneko for involvement in bid-rigging in fiscal 2003 and 2004.

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