City employee, construction co. executive nabbed for collusion

Okinawa Prefectural Police arrested 38-year-old Uruma City Board of Education employee Katsuya Shiohira and 54-year-old board member of Okishin Kensetsu Construction Company, Akira Taba on Feb. 11.

According to investigators, they are suspected of violating the Prevention of Collusive Bidding Act. The two were arrested after an investigation at the initiative of government officials. The two are suspected of colluding in a bid for reconstruction of a public pre-school building in Uruma City.

Officers of the prefectural police also raided offices of the city owned pre-school, the construction firm, and homes of the suspects, and confiscated evidence.

According to people familiar with the case, Shiohira advised Taba of the lowest bid among companies that submitted bids for reconstruction of Takaesu public pre-school building sometime in August 2014, and also delayed the public works tender.  In the public bidding, Okishin Kensetsu won the contract with a bid of ¥198.13 million. The margin between the second lowest price and the Okishin’s price for the project was only ¥5,000.

Both have reportedly confessed to the accusation.