Bribery probe rocks municipality in Afula

Police raid the Afula Municipality, detaining several senior employees over suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

July 12, 2012 01:39
1 minute read.

AVI ELKABETZ 370. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Police raided the Afula Municipality on Wednesday, detaining several senior employees over suspicions of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The raid, led by the National Fraud Unit, followed an undercover investigation into the municipality. Detectives seized documents during a search of the premises.

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Police would not immediately release details of the investigation, but a Channel 10 report aired last month did raise allegations of cash bribes given to Afula Mayor Avi Elkabetz by a local contractor. The program was based on an interview with the contractor, though sources in the municipality dismissed the allegations. The sources accused the contractor of seeking to punish the mayor due to the ending of work contracts with him.

The Channel 10 program also raised allegations that the mayor was sold a penthouse apartment by the contractor, adding that the true size of the apartment was not reported to the Tax Authority.

The Afula Municipality confirmed that officers arrived in the morning on a police raid, adding that it was cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Afula City Council member Reuven Yoklar said the day’s events were difficult for the city and its residents, and expressed hope that the news would turn out to be a bad dream.

That said, he continued in a written statement, “I am sure that law enforcement bodies will work quickly and decisively to clear the dark cloud over Afula’s head, thereby clearing the city’s good name.”

Local residents who formed the Committee To Save the City called on Elkabetz to quit his post following the raid.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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