Lindenstrauss weighing measures against Treasury

December 29, 2011 03:08

State Comptroller threatens legal action over Treasury's refusal to hand over documents relating to the state budget.

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State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss

311_Micha Lindenstrauss. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss threatened to take legal action over Treasury officials’ refusal to hand over documents relating to the state budget.

Lindenstrauss, whose office is currently auditing the Treasury’s budget-setting procedures, said Treasury officials are continuing to create difficulties by refusing to hand over the documents, which are required to complete the audit.

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The state comptroller described the Treasury’s refusal to comply with his office as “extremely serious.”

“Nobody can dictate to us what we can and cannot audit,” Lindenstrauss said.

Speaking at the Institute of Internal Auditors’ meeting in Tel Aviv, Lindenstrauss noted he is currently weighing whether to exercise his office’s legal authority to formally instruct the Treasury to report to him with the material required for the audit.

The state comptroller referred to the Basic Law: The state comptroller, which stipulates that all government bodies subject to audit will immediately upon request provide the state comptroller with any information deemed necessary for that audit.

Lindenstrauss said that under the law, his office can appoint a commission of enquiry in certain circumstances, whose powers include ordering the Treasury to report to him.

The Treasury told The Jerusalem Post it did not have any comment about Lindenstrauss’s remarks.

Former finance minister MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) said in response to Lindenstrauss’s remarks that the Treasury was guilty of “unparalleled chutzpah” because it had accused the Defense Ministry of not being transparent about its budget.

“How can they whine about that and on the other hand not be transparent before the state comptroller?” Bar-On said. “There is not and must not be anything in Israeli public life, and especially not in the depths of government, that is not visible to the state comptroller.”

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