Friedmann: Comptroller must know his limits

Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann harshly criticized the conduct of the State Comptroller Micha Lindenstruss on Friday. "The comptroller's job is to examine issues of financial management intactness. If, during the course of his work, he comes across a situation that arises suspicions of criminal behavior, he must submit his findings to the state attorney but he is not qualified to investigate it himself," said Friedmann during a conference in the Netanya Academic College. On Wednesday, Lindenstrauss informed the attorney-general that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may have been guilty of criminal behavior by taking an active part in an Investment Center decision to provide a $10 million grant to a company represented by his close friend, former partner and personal lawyer, Uriel Messer when Olmert served as minister of commerce and industry. The letter to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz came in the wake of a 30-page report released on the same day entitled "Conflict of Interests on the Part of the Minister of Commerce and Industry." Friedmann went on tell the audience in Netanya that if the state comptroller acts otherwise he could damage the relationships between the different authorities. "There needs to be the possibility of inspection and supervision but while always maintaining the democratic principles of the state," he said. Dan Izenberg contributed to this report