'State Comptroller must investigate ‘Bibitours’'

State Control Committee Chairman Ariel's statements follow reports that state comptroller will let Rivlin decide what to do with case.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira must continue investigating allegations of improper funding of international trips against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Knesset State Control Committee chairman MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said on Friday.
Ariel’s statements followed reports that Shapira will give Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, the task of deciding what will be done with the case.
According to the reports, Shapira favors the legal opinion of the prime minister’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, who argued that the socalled “Bibitours” case is an ethical one. As such, the Knesset Ethics Committee should deal with the claims against Netanyahu, and Rivlin could decide whether or not they would reach the panel headed by Shas MK Yitzhak Vaknin.
Rivlin’s office was not officially contacted by the State Comptroller’s Office on the issue, and did not comment on the issue.
Ariel insisted that “only the comptroller can and must” investigate the allegations, which were aired on Channel 10 last year.
“I call on [Shapira] to take back his decision, complete the report and present it to the Knesset,” the Control Committee chairman stated.
“Any other decision would leave a cloud over the [Ethics Committee members’] heads.”
All MKs, including ministers, must report their travels and who funds them for the Knesset Ethics Committee’s approval. When the “Bibitours” investigation began, the committee gave documentation of all ministers’ and deputy ministers’ trips to then-comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss.