Mofaz: Livni must quit due to financial irregularities

Livni responds that she initiated investigation into wrongdoing; Dichter calls damning report "tip of the iceberg."

Shaul Mofaz 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Shaul Mofaz 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni enabled financial misconduct in the party that has resulted in investigations by police and State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, her party rivals MKs Shaul Mofaz and Avi Dichter charged on Thursday night in a stormy meeting of the Kadima faction.
Livni convened the faction to discuss Lindenstrauss’s November 3 decision to fine Kadima NIS 570,000 for failing to present a complete financial report or disclose full information about its income and expenditure.
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Lindenstrauss criticized the party for overpaying suppliers, giving out illegal bonuses, and failing to insist on the repayment of loans. He singled out Livni for hosting a NIS 57,000 private dinner for 60 guests at her Tel Aviv home at a cost of NIS 950 per plate.
Livni has blamed Kadima’s financial misdeeds on the party’s former treasurer, Itzik Hadad, who was arrested last month on suspicion of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. But Mofaz and Dichter said the buck must stop with the leader of the party.
“The responsibility is yours and you must take it,” Mofaz told Livni in the meeting. “There are problems here with unethical leadership. I am sick of hearing statements like I didn’t know, I didn’t hear, I didn’t see.”
There must be transparency rather than hiding behind absurd claims of lacking knowledge.”
Dichter called the comptroller’s report “just the tip of the iceberg” of financial misconduct by the party’s leadership. Dichter said Lindenstrauss did not even get to the hundreds of thousands of shekels in bonuses Livni paid to the party’s director-general and pollster.
“It’s no secret that I have been worried for three years about the appointments Livni made in the party,” Mofaz said. “We must put a stop to this. After I am elected party chairman, Kadima will look different.
Mofaz said Livni failed in running the party and the opposition in the Knesset. He called upon her to advance the party’s leadership primary and said a majority of its 28 lawmakers agreed with him.
MK Marina Solodkin, who unlike Mofaz and Dichter is not running against Livni for party leader, said she was concerned about the comptroller’s report and that the party’s oversight rules needed to change. But unlike Mofaz and Dichter, she cast blame for the party’s irregularities on Livni’s predecessor, former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
A Livni spokesman responded that Mofaz and Dichter tried unsuccessfully to make an uproar and the other MKs chose not to cooperate with those acting out of their own narrow political interests and not the good of the party.
The spokesman denied Dichter's claim about bonuses given out by Livni. "This party did something rare in politics," the Livni spokesman said. "It investigated itself, produced grave findings and brought them at its own initiative to the comptroller and the police. This was the right thing to do even though it led to the negative report of the comptroller. Those are the facts and those who care about the facts understand that we did the right thing."