Former Liberal Democratic Party policy chief Hakubun Shimomura drew criticism Monday for dodging questions on the political funds scandal during a Lower House political ethics committee meeting, despite having hinted that his testimony would finally provide some answers.

Key issues in the scandal concern why a system of kickbacks was maintained by the Seiwakai faction, previously led by former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after Abe’s death, as well as whether faction leaders recognized the system was illegal. As a former leader of the Abe faction, Shimomura had been expected to shed light on those questions via his testimony.

Instead, his vague replies are likely to increase opposition pressure on Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to allow sworn parliamentary testimonies by other key LDP members, which would — unlike those given to the political ethics committee — carry legal penalties for perjury.