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Accountant admits to embezzling union funds

Date Posted: 2009-10-01

The 58-year-old accountant spent five years manipulating Okinawa Prefecture Land Improvement Enterprise Union funds, moving money from one account to another and using his ill-gotten gains to finance his gambling activities before being tripped up and brought to justice.

The official, who has not been named, has confessed to his embezzlement of public money after accounting section personnel finally figured out he had embezzled more than ¥156 million. His lawyer says “he has confessed that all the money was used for his own gambling and to pay loans” during the 2004-2009 period.

The union’s and it’s chairman’s, Nanjo City Mayor Keishun Koja’s trust gave the accountant the perfect opportunity. A union director says “all money payments and receipts were handled only by him, and during the five years everybody let him do everything all by himself, and trusted him.” A union officer added “this guy did clever workmanship, so even though the account books were audited twice each year, his wrongdoing wasn’t found because he made up shortfalls in one account by embezzling money from another. That’s how he escaped detection.”

The bank staff uncovered the deception and called the union to report “this month’s payment has not been transferred to the bank account.” Directors are all apologizing for not uncovering the scandal. “We’re sorry this scandal happened,” said one, “because our work in managing business affairs was too low. We will go over the accounting section activities in a more thorough and drastic way.”

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