MK Molla misused private donations, sources claim

Post finds Molla used

shlomo molla 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
shlomo molla 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In addition to donations he received from messianic Jews, Kadima MK Shlomo Molla also pocketed money he received from private funders and organizations within the mainstream Jewish community while in the US, a reliable source close to the country's only Ethiopian parliamentarian told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. One day after Yediot Aharonot revealed how a $17,000 donation from an American messianic Jewish (Christian) organization called Jewish Voice ended up in Molla's private bank account, the lawmaker remained silent, refusing to comment on the allegations against him to the Post. However, the source close to Molla said that during his most recent trip to the US last April, which was meant for campaign fund-raising purposes, Molla siphoned money from donations made by Orthodox institutions, Reform and Conservative congregations and at least one rabbi to buy clothes and presents for his family. "Many organizations and individuals wanted to support his campaign," said the source. "And he just used the money for personal use while he was in America." Yediot Aharonot's investigation demonstrated that while $7,000 of the $17,000 donation from Jewish Voice was for his campaign deficit, an additional $10,000 of the contribution transferred to him last May was meant to have gone to programs for the needy in the Ethiopian immigrant community. "He [Molla] kept saying that it was not important, that the money only came from Jews for Jesus and not from 'real' Jews, said the source. "He tried to make them sound ugly so that no one would care about what happened to the money, but I do not think their beliefs are important, they had good intentions and they wanted to help Israel." In his response to Yediot Aharonot, which also accused the MK of faking his university degree, Molla said, "From my perspective, this issue is done with. I am not concerned that it will turn into a criminal issue. The money has been returned and from here on in the story is finished." However, the source close to Molla said that the funds had actually been transferred to the MK's personal savings account and would only be released early next month. "He [Molla] told me he needed the money to pay his bills and not to worry about it," said the source, adding that the lawmaker had also hidden the fact that he received a large personal donation from the State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. According to the law, all parliamentarians must declare such gifts. E-mails sent to Jewish Voice, a Phoenix, Arizona-based organization, were not answered on Monday.•