What are Mazuz's arguments?

What are Mazuzs argumen

By DAN IZENBERG
November 7, 2009 21:34
3 minute read.

 
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According to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, it was during his tenure in office that the law enforcement authorities for the first time launched an integrated and coordinated battle against government corruption and organized crime. Creating a system in which independent bodies agreed to cooperate with one another and share information and priorities on a daily basis could only occur if all of them recognized one "leading authority with overall responsibility and an overall picture and accepted him as the leading force," wrote Mazuz. "Therefore, the splitting of the role of the attorney-general and the State Attorney's Office will lead, with great probability, to serious problems to the point of paralyzing integrated action." Regarding the war against government corruption, the integrated system made it possible to wage a consistent, systematic battle in which the government took the initiative, said Mazuz. The joint effort of various government bodies has made it possible to attack the mutually corruptive influences of elective bodies on the MKs they elect, political appointments, illegal election funding and other manifestations of public corruption. The integrative effort did not deal with marginal matters but has gone to the heart of the power structure including the prime minister, ministers, MKs, the chief rabbis and others. In this fight, the attorney-general said he also introduced legislation and drafted guidelines regarding the conduct of ministers. As a result, the law enforcement authorities have conducted 100 investigations, filed 30 indictments, won 20 cases and lost none during the past few years, he said. One of the innovations that has been introduced is that law enforcement officials study cases of corruption to see the weaknesses in the system that enabled public representatives to cheat, and recommend steps to solve the flaws. According to the guidelines, a team is established, including a representative of the state prosecution, the comptroller of the office involved, and the legal adviser of the office. Such a team was appointed to study and correct the failures that led to the allegedly illegal appointment of Jacky Mazza as head of the Israel Tax Authority. The integrated system makes it possible to "drain swamps, rather than kill a mosquito or two," said Mazuz. The same integrated system has been used to fight organized crime, he continued. Soon after his appointment, he established a higher committee, which he heads, to fight serious and organized crime. Committee members include the heads of all the law enforcement agencies. In addition, there is a standing committee that deals with the daily work. It has established a joint intelligence center, coordinated the work plans of the various agencies, and created joint task forces including representatives of the prosecution, the police and the tax authority. The task force has introduced other economic, civil and administrative crime-fighting methods, such as seizure of assets, closure of businesses, monitoring of bank accounts and restriction of business activity. "We attack them on a broad front because reality has taught us that if you attack on the criminal front only, all you achieve is swift advancement in the hierarchy of the criminal organization," said Mazuz. "You catch the head of the organizations, so the second-in-command advances to the top and the next one advances after him because the crime organization motor continues to function. The motor is the economic activity of the organization. Therefore, the integrated team and the coordinated work program attacks the organization in other ways as well." Mazuz said the authorities have improved investigation techniques such as the establishment of the Witness Protection Authority, the upgrading of technological systems, the establishment of a DNA bank, and improved cooperation with investigation agencies abroad. The attorney-general added that the Justice Ministry has also used its legislative powers to introduce laws to help fight crime. These include a bill to more clearly define the crime of fraud and breach of trust, and amendments to the penal law regarding bribery. "The name of the game," summarized Mazuz, "perhaps even more so in the fight against crime families and organized crime, is integrated action, that is, the cooperation of all the law enforcement agencies and all the resources - criminal, economic, civil and administrative."

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