THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
October 25, 2021 at 18:26 JST
Nihon University Itabashi Hospital in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward on Oct. 7 (Kazuyoshi Sako)
The Nihon University money scandal has taken another turn, this time involving cash transfers related to a contract to deliver medical equipment to the school’s hospital, investigative sources said.
More than 100 million yen ($880,000) was transferred to the side of Masami Yabumoto, former chief of Osaka-based Kinshukai, a major medical corporation group, and about 27 million yen was sent to the side of an acquaintance of Tadao Inoguchi, a university board member, the sources said.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects the two made arrangements that caused the university to pay unnecessary expenses for the medical equipment, and that they siphoned the extra pay for their own purposes, the sources said.
Prosecutors are investigating the new allegations as another case of breach of trust.
The two suspects could be rearrested on Oct. 27, the deadline for their detention for their earlier arrests.
Inoguchi, 64, and Yabumoto, 61, were arrested on Oct. 7 on suspicion of breach of trust over a series of money transfers related to a contract to reconstruct Nihon University Itabashi Hospital in Tokyo’s Itabashi Ward.
The latest revelations involve familiar names and companies.
Seven units of MRI, CT and angiography equipment manufactured overseas have been installed at Nihon University Itabashi Hospital since spring.
Under the lease contract for the equipment, the university will pay 1.4 billion yen over seven years.
A university subsidiary, Nihon University Enterprise Co., handled the contract work through a domestic trading company that specializes in medical equipment.
Inoguchi was a board member of the subsidiary when the contract was finalized.
Prosecutors suspect that more than 100 million yen of university’s payments for the equipment was transferred to a dummy company set up by Yabumoto.
A Kinshukai-related company later sent about 11.4 million yen in July and about 15.7 million yen in August to a company connected to Inoguchi’s acquaintance.
The company that received the 27 million yen was established by Inoguchi and headed by his relative in 2019.
The dummy company and the acquaintance-related company were never involved in the business deal for the medical equipment.
Inoguchi told prosecutors that he “does not know” about the 27 million yen that was transferred, the sources said.
The acquaintance-related company is also believed to have received 66 million yen from the same Kinshukai-related company in the scandal over the reconstruction contract for the hospital.
In that case, Nihon University Enterprise selected a design office to manage the reconstruction project. The office received an initial payment for the work and allegedly transferred 220 million yen to Yabumoto’s side.
Inoguchi is suspected to have received 25 million yen personally from the funds.
Yabumoto has also told prosecutors that he gave 60 million yen—30 million yen each around August and October in 2020—to Hidetoshi Tanaka, 74, the university’s board chairman, the sources said.
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