An IDF soldier stands guard during a tour made by Israeli parliament members in the Jordan Valley [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems failed to manage a competitive and open selection process when it came to hiring expert consultants, the state comptroller said Monday.
In his latest report on the defense establishment, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira listed the “many failings, some of them severe, in the selection process and communications between Rafael and the experts.” Shapira’s office stressed that all of the faults were in Rafael’s processes, not among the experts the defense giant hired.
In an unusually broad manner, “Rafael did not seek to manage a competitive and equal manner of communication, and in general preferred certain suppliers over other potential suppliers,” the report said, in reference to how the company selected its experts.
The state comptroller said he took a “severe view” of the harm caused by Rafael to the principles of equality and fairness in tenders among potential competitors.
He called on Rafael to “immediately adopt conclusions from this report, ensure equal and competitive procedure in the selection of experts, and significantly improve the supervision mechanism.”
Rafael is in touch with some 400 experts in a variety of fields. Between 2012 and 2013, the company forked out some NIS 84 million on services purchased from expert consultants, defined as professionals who possess expertise, skill and fluency in their areas.
The comptroller’s report referred to the Tenders Law, which it said obligates Rafael – as a government-owned company – to hold a public tender giving each competitor equal opportunity to participate.
Shapira’s office said it carried out a check, between January and November 2014, on how Rafael dealt with experts between July 2011 and 2013.
It criticized what it said was the failing by Rafael’s board of directors’ failure to act in line with its legal requirements. In 2012, for example, the board did not receive a report on Rafael’s hiring of experts in 2011, and did not discuss the matter at all, the report said.
In 2011, 2012, and 2014, Rafael’s management did not present to the board information on the makeup of central committees for the selection of experts, contrary to protocol, it added.
Responding to the report, Rafael said, “In general, Rafael acts in line with the rules of correct management. At the same time, the comptroller’s reports raises a number of shortcomings, some of which have been fixed, and the remainder will be fixed in the near future.”