State Comptroller: Severe planning violations in Mossad

Report finds faulty planning practices in Israel’s secret intelligence unit; poor management leads to millions of shekels being wasted.

By RON FRIEDMAN
March 29, 2011 18:43
2 minute read.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss

311_Micha Lindenstrauss. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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According to a State Comptroller’s Report released Tuesday on the Mossad, Israel’s secret intelligence unit is severely lacking in foresight when it comes to its internal logistics.

The report describes serious planning and construction violations committed by the Mossad’s logistics department “indicating long-term and worrying harm to good governance practices, including inefficiency and wasted funds.”

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“Construction in the Mossad’s compounds has seen a huge upsurge in recent years, amounting to hundreds of millions of shekels,” the report stated.

“Many shortcomings were discovered in the construction field, many of them serious, including lack of proper planning for construction projects, failure to hold tenders as required, substantial increases of costs and gaps of dozens of percentage points between assessments and actual costs, all of which point to unworthy management of construction projects.”

In one case, the report found that the Mossad had declared a construction company the winner of a tender to build an office complex – a day after it had already signed a contract with the same company to build it.

In another case, the report found that the Mossad had granted a company a contract to build a 2,000 sq. m.

building costing millions, without issuing any tender.

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In yet a third project, the Mossad had granted a contract worth NIS 3.7 million to a company without receiving offers from six other companies that were supposed to participate in the tender.

Apart from flaws in planning and obtaining permits, the report also found severe safety violations at Mossad construction sites. Despite an inspection report by the Housing and Construction Ministry, released in April 2008, in September 2008, people on the site were still working without helmets, electric cables were improperly insulated and workers were working without adequate scaffolding and fencing in place to ensure their safety, the comptroller’s report said.

The report also inspected payroll procedures and found that Mossad drivers were paid excessive compensation for overtime. Moreover, the workday was an hour less for drivers than for other Mossad employees, leading to even more overtime payments.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss recommended that the attorney-general and the Treasury’s controller follow the internal inspection procedures to make sure the shortcomings are remedied.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in response to the report that “the organization had received the report and was treating it with utmost seriousness and responsibility. The needs of the Mossad, which were dictated by the circumstances, demanded many planning and construction actions of unprecedented scale and demanded changes that were made while work was under way and which could not have been anticipated in advance.

“The head of the Mossad has set up an internal inspection and implementation team and is personally following its work. Some of the shortcomings mentioned in the report have already been remedied and others are in the process of being fixed,” the statement concluded.

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