北陸新幹線談合 官民癒着の徹底解明が必要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 5, 2014
Possible collusion in Shinkansen bid-rigging case must be clarified
北陸新幹線談合 官民癒着の徹底解明が必要だ(2月5日付・読売社説)

Do the new allegations over bid-rigging on Shinkansen-related engineering work mean that competitive bidding on infrastructure improvement projects essential for the safety of bullet train services was derailed through a collusive relationship between entities in the public and private sectors? Investigating authorities must uncover the full truth.
 新幹線の安全運行に欠かせないインフラ工事の入札が、官民の癒着でゆがめられていたのか。捜査当局には徹底解明が求められる。

The allegations have arisen over projects to prevent snow damage along the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. On Tuesday, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Fair Trade Commission searched offices linked to the case on suspicion of a violation of the Antimonopoly Law. The locations searched by the prosecution’s special investigative squad and the FTC included equipment installation companies that participated in the bidding, as well as the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency (JRTT), a government-affiliated independent administrative institution that placed orders for the projects.
 北陸新幹線の雪害対策工事で談合の疑いが浮上した。東京地検特捜部と公正取引委員会は入札に参加した設備工事会社と、発注元の独立行政法人「鉄道建設・運輸施設整備支援機構」を独占禁止法違反容疑で捜索した。

The projects under investigation cover a route that is being constructed to connect Nagano and Kanazawa along the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. The Nagano-Kanazawa route is scheduled to open late in fiscal 2014.
 捜査の対象は、2014年度末に開業予定の長野―金沢間の工事だ。

The cost of the projects is to be covered by such resources as national government subsidies and contributions from local governments affected by these plans. If prices tendered for construction projects are exorbitant due to bid-rigging, the corporations involved in the scheme will reap unlawful profits, thus requiring excessive public expenditures.
工事費は、国の補助金や自治体の負担金などで賄う。談合で入札価格がつり上がれば、業者が不正な利益を獲得し、その分、余計な公費が支出される。

Given the seriousness of the latest bid-rigging case, the special investigation team and the FTC had every reason to embark on a probe aimed at establishing the criminal responsibility of the corporations involved and JRTT.
 談合の悪質性を考えれば、特捜部と公取委が刑事責任の追及に乗り出したのは当然と言える。

It will be particularly disconcerting if the case is found to involve collusive bidding at the initiative of such a government-affiliated institution as JRTT.
 特に問題なのは、官製談合だった可能性が高い点だ。

However, this seems likely as bidding on the projects included more than one case in which the price of a successful bid on a construction project was equivalent to 99 percent or more of the price anticipated by JRTT. It is apparent that the prices must have been leaked to potential contractors as the bids on the projects were accepted at prices nearly equal to those JRTT anticipated.
 工事の入札では、予定価格に対する落札額の割合を示す落札率が99%を超える複数のケースがあった。予定価格にほぼ等しい落札が相次げば、価格が漏洩(ろうえい)されていたと見るのが自然だろう。

Tough penalties

Possible irregularities have been brought to light through the investigative squad’s questioning of some company employees responsible for the bidding procedures. They reportedly told investigators that JRTT officials, who held positions comparable to section chief, gave them hints as to anticipated prices ahead of the bidding sessions.
 これまでの特捜部の任意の事情聴取に対し、一部業者の担当者が、入札前に支援機構支社の課長クラスから予定価格を示唆されたと供述しているという。

Another probable factor behind the latest case is that JRTT wanted to smooth progress in the bidding process so it could complete the construction projects in time for the opening of the Nagano-Kanazawa route. If no bidder had won a contract for a project, it would have taken about two months for a new bidding session to take place. This would have led to delays in the JRTT projects.
 機構側には、北陸新幹線開業に間に合わせるため、入札を円滑に進めたいとの思惑があったとされる。入札が不調に終わると、再入札までに2か月程度かかり、工事の遅れにつながるからだ。

If JRTT put its own convenience ahead of everything else by becoming involved in bid-rigging and accommodating bidders’ interests, it would undermine the essential nature of competitive bidding. It would also impair people’s trust in public works projects.
 こうした自らの都合で、機構が談合に手を染め、業者側に便宜を図れば、入札は骨抜きになる。公共事業に対する信頼も損なう。

In December 2006, the Public Sector Bid-Rigging Prevention Law was revised to impose criminal penalties on public service employees and others. The law would apply to employees at JRTT, an institution wholly financed by the government. We hope the investigative team will carry out a thorough probe into all aspects of the case, including whether top-ranking JRTT officials were involved in the affair.
 官製談合防止法は2006年12月の改正で、公務員ら個人への刑事罰が導入された。政府が100%出資する機構の職員にも適用される。特捜部は、機構上層部の関与の有無を含め、厳正に捜査を進めてもらいたい。

JRTT’s undertakings include construction work on new Shinkansen lines in Hokkaido and Kyushu in addition to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Prompt measures should be taken to determine whether there were any suspicions about bidding for projects on these lines. It is also essential to confirm whether JRTT is properly managing information about its anticipated prices.
 支援機構は、北陸新幹線のほかにも、北海道や九州の整備新幹線の建設工事を手がけている。不自然な入札はなかったか、予定価格の情報管理は適正に行われているか。早急に再点検すべきだ。

The latest case has highlighted the depth of industry-wide collusion. The targets of Tuesday’s search included a large corporation that has expertise in installing snow-melting equipment.
 業界ぐるみの談合体質の根深さも浮き彫りになった。捜索を受けた会社には、融雪設備工事のノウハウを持つ大手が含まれる。

The latest bid-rigging case is not an isolated one in the engineering industry. In 2006, action was taken in a case involving an order placed by the now-defunct Defense Facilities Administration Agency for air-conditioning equipment installation work.
 この業界では、06年にも当時の防衛施設庁発注の空調設備工事で、談合が摘発された。

All corporations in the engineering industry need to eliminate collusive relationships and comply with the law.
 業界全体で馴(な)れ合いを排し、法令順守を徹底する必要がある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 5, 2014)
(2014年2月5日01時37分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2014-02-07 08:03 | 英字新聞

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