Comptroller mum on corruption probe

Micha Lindenstrauss declined to provide details on cases under investigation.

lindenstrauss 88 (photo credit: GPO)
lindenstrauss 88
(photo credit: GPO)
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss declined on Thursday to comment on a report in Yediot Aharonot providing details on the seven affairs it claims are currently under investigation by a special task force in the his office. Lindenstrauss had announced that his office was investigating seven cases allegedly involving corruption among public servants in the Knesset the previous day, but refused to provide details about any of them. Meanwhile, Barak Calev of the Movement for Quality Government told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that it was too early to assess the effectiveness of Lindenstrauss's campaign against corruption and said he wanted to first see the results of the current investigations. Calev said he understood the criticism that had been leveled against Lindenstrauss for investigating - if the reports in Yediot are true - only allegations of corruption that had already been exposed by the media. According to Calev, the state comptroller will have to do more than that, since the media are motivated by the need to attract the public and therefore only investigate the more sensational instances of corruption. "The state comptroller must be able to uncover the type of corruption that takes place in the dark corners of the public administration, the kind of affairs that no one else can get to," Calev said. "His work must be of the kind to encourage public servants to come forth and volunteer information to him." He added that before assessing Lindenstrauss's actions, he wanted to see whether he would name names and point a finger at those responsible for the corruption, rather than leaving his findings in general and imprecise terms. According to the Yediot report, Lindenstrauss is currently investigating the following affairs: • A company owned by Elichai Henig, husband of Education Minister Limor Livnat and his partner, Avi Rogovsky, provides computer programs commemorating the country's fallen soldiers. It supplies them to many public institutions, including the Knesset, veterans' organizations and development towns. The company has a monopoly in the field. Clients do not issue tenders for the material, which has allegedly netted the company millions of dollars. • Eli Landau, a former director-general of the Israel Electric Corporation, allegedly awarded corporation tenders to close friends, including Shabtai Shavit, Yossi Meiman and Reuven Adler.
  • The Ashot security company in Ashkelon, previously owned by Israel Military Industries, was recently purchased by former Labor MK Avraham Burg. Lindenstrauss is reportedly examining the relations between Burg and Ian Davis and Aviv Algor, businessmen who were barred from participating in the bidding for the firm because they are reportedly under investigation by the Securities Authority on suspicion of fraud in aggravated circumstances.
  • The Bank of Israel allegedly forgave loans granted to senior bank officials and issued loans and mortgages to employees at subsidized interest rates financed from its budget. According to Yediot, the internal comptroller also investigated inappropriate behavior by senior bank employees, including one who allegedly installed a refrigerator in his office and used it to store alcoholic beverages which he drank during the work day.
  • The head of the Airports Authority union allegedly arranged for the company to hire 30 family members, including his son and daughter, his brother, two nieces and seven nephews. Most of the relatives, who constitute more than 1 percent of the entire authority staff, have tenure and high salaries.
  • Israel Railways has allegedly made dubious personnel appointments, including awarding jobs involving public safety to unqualified people. The appointees include relatives of members of management and of the union.
  • Magen David Adom has reportedly made political appointments to senior positions.