The Osaka Prefectural Government of Japan is considering bringing criminal charges against the scandal-hit school corporation Moritomo Gakuen over its application to open an elementary school, sources familiar with the matter said on March 13.
The prefectural government complains that the school operator submitted a false report understating the construction cost at 756 million yen while the actual figure was roughly 1.5 billion yen.
Though the local government is independently investigating a string of suspicions, it believes that bringing charges against the school operator is necessary to unravel the whole picture of the scandal.
According to the sources, the prefectural government is in talks with its legal advisers on bringing charges against the school operator. The sources believe that the submission of a false contract to the prefectural government constitutes forgery of a private document or interfering with the execution of official duties.
The prefectural government is considering charging Yasunori Kagoike, the head of the school operator who has expressed his intention to step down, and others and is expected to finalize its decision soon.
Moritomo Gakuen prepared three sets of construction contracts with three different figures – 1,555,200,000 yen, 756 million yen and 2,384,640,000 yen. Its contract submitted to the prefectural government stated the construction cost of 756 million yen.
But the construction company involved in the project told the prefectural government that it produced a document stating the cost of 756 million yen at the urging of Moritomo Gakuen and that the one stating the cost of 1,555,200,000 yen is the authentic contract.
The prefectural government concluded that the school operator underreported the construction cost to make its financial status look better and facilitate the application process for opening the school.
The prefectural government believes that it is unclear whether the school operator will actively cooperate with the authorities.