Contractor overcharges for Fukushima decontamination workers’ lodging

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A Japanese construction company said Friday it has padded bills for the lodging expenses of workers engaged in decontamination efforts following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex disaster.

Hazama Ando Corp. said an internal probe had found that one of its employees instructed a subcontractor to overcharge the Iwaki and Tamura city governments in Fukushima Prefecture a combined 80 million yen (around $724,770) and to make it appear that more workers were involved. Receipts for such lodging expenses were found to have been altered.

The central and local governments are continuing to struggle with radiation cleanup activities following meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in the aftermath of a massive earthquake and tsunami ion March 2011.

Contractors secure orders linked to decontamination work from either the central or local governments. Customarily, the main contractors shoulder the expenses of subcontractors, after which the state reimburses them and asks plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc to pay.

Toshiaki Nomura, president of the Tokyo-based construction company, apologized for padding the bills related to projects for decontamination work and the monitoring of radiation levels in the two cities, both located around 40 kilometers from the crippled complex.

The company was found to have overcharged Iwaki city an estimated 53 million yen and Tamura city around 27 million yen. It also overstated the number of workers mobilized.

Hazama Ando charged Iwaki city 7,500 yen per overnight stay, higher than the actual amount of 5,000 yen, and stated that around 15,000 workers were involved, rather than 11,000.

The Tamura city government was charged 5,500 yen per person for accommodation, 500 yen higher than the actual amount, with the company stating 10,000 workers were involved rather than 5,600.

Hazama Ando is looking into why an employee instructed a subcontractor to overcharge for accommodation and make it appear that more workers were involved. The employee has told the company he had acted “haphazardly.”

© KYODO

Source : Japan Today

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