State comptroller with Yuli edelshtein 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy, Knesset Spokesperson)
The Finance Ministry lacks oversight for NIS 29 billion in loans it has given
out, either directly or through banks, the State Comptroller’s Report revealed
According to the report, the ministry relied only on loan
forms to account for the funds and needed an external auditor to oversee
Many of the unsupervised loans were in the field of housing. Of the
loans given out through the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division,
there were few or insufficient efforts to seek repayment for loans that were
seven years overdue, amounting to NIS 813.6 million.
There were also
unregistered loans from previous years that the ministry did not make attempts
Similarly, since 2001, the state stopped pursuing NIS 300m.
in interest payments and NIS 324m. in fines for late repayment of loans made
from the state endowment.
That all adds up to well over NIS 1b. in
uncollected funds over the years, money that would ease the burden on the
state’s stretched finances.
In housing, the report said the rate of
support for subsidized mortgages to eligible recipients dropped 40 percent in
recent years. Whereas the interest on subsidized loans was lower than the market
average in 1998, in recent years it was notably higher.
definitions, outlines and interest-rate references in the Finance Ministry’s and
Housing Ministry’s guidelines were found to be out of date. No staff-level work
had been done to limit the size of loans or match them to current economic
“The management of the Finance Ministry and the Housing
Ministry is one of the causes for the downward trend in eligible people taking
advantage of housing loans, just as the hardship in housing is increasing,” the
report said, noting that four years of supply-side efforts to improve the market
had “not borne fruit.”
The two ministries needed to reevaluate the
conditions for such loans, the report said.
Another section of the report
blasted the Ashdod Port for paying out thousands of shekels in travel expenses
for its former chairman’s vacation days.
In his three years as chairman
of the board (May 2007-May 2011), Yaakov Raz spent 93 days abroad, at a cost of
NIS 252,000 to the company. Of those, 77 were work days and 16 were marked as
vacation, but Raz took lodging expenses and per diems for all of them. Many of
the trips were not reported properly.
The report said the port was made
aware of the findings in 2012 and accepted them.