Israel Postal Company often ignores purchasing rules

The state comptroller, investigating the Israel Postal Company's practices regarding the purchase of equipment and services, has found that it often ignored the need to issue a public tender to choose the most reasonably priced and best supplier. These faults were described in Wednesday's State Comptroller's Report as "serious." The company - which was turned into a semi-independent government company a few years ago - must act according to regulations regarding tenders and purchases and take action against those company staffers who do not follow them, the comptroller declared. Some of the decisions were made by faxing drafts of decisions to all members of the tenders committee for approval, or even asking them for their approval by phone. In other cases, the comptroller said, committee members received background information only when they arrived at meetings, preventing them from studying the material before deciding. In general, the comptroller charged, discussions for choosing a supplier were not in-depth and not serious. A dozen different times, the Postal Company decided on a supplier without issuing a tender. This was standard when they claimed there was great urgency in deciding or to prevent "harm" to the company. Perhaps more shocking to consumers was the finding that between 2006 and 2007, a total of 194 passports and visas issued by an unnamed foreign country that were supposed to have been delivered by the Postal Company never reached their destinations; they were either lost or stolen. Security for these important and sensitive documents was almost nonexistent, with no numbering or marking for identification, and no accompanying forms or seals to prevent the packages from being opened. The company even lacked the documentation to inform the foreign embassy whose passports had gone missing. Fundamental changes must be carried out if the Postal Company wants to be trusted to deliver sensitive documents, the comptroller said, adding that when domestic or foreign passports were lost or stolen, security authorities such as the police, as well as the Interior Ministry, must be informed.