'Olmert ignoring Comptroller's Law'

PM reportedly drags feet on answering questions about home front during war.

kids in shelter 298 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
kids in shelter 298 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
"Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is ignoring the State Comptroller's Law, just like he ignores other laws," MK Arye Eldad said Friday in response to a report that the prime minister had refused to meet with State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to answer questions on issues regarding home front management during the summer's Lebanon war. "It is no wonder," Eldad added, "that [Olmert] prefers to be investigated by people he appointed, such as the Winograd Commission."
  • The second Lebanon war: JPost.com special report Meretz MK Avshalom Vilan called Olmert's refusal "tricky and unbecoming." Vilan said that the management of the home front during the war had been "scandalous," and it was a shame that the person in charge was playing "games." On Friday, Army Radio broke the story of Olmert's alleged refusal to meet with Lindenstrauss. According to the report, sources in the State Comptroller's Office said that on December 25, Lindenstrauss wrote to Olmert and requested a meeting to address home front-related issues. According to the sources, Olmert said on January 7 that he did not intend to meet with the comptroller, and instead offered to respond in writing to a series of written inquiries. Lindenstrauss assented to the prime minister's request, despite his feeling that it was "inappropriate," and sent Olmert a letter containing questions on the main points he wished to investigate. Army Radio said that as of Friday, approximately six weeks after Lindenstrauss sent his questions to Olmert, the prime minister had not responded. PMO director-general Ra'anan Dinur did appear before Lindenstrauss, but was reportedly unable to supply the requisite information. The Prime Minister's Office said in response to the Army Radio report that "the comptroller took three weeks to submit the questions in writing - but he wanted the answers in just two weeks." The PMO added that the comptroller had sent protocols documenting years' worth of events, all of which had to be read carefully in order to prepare a serious answer. "We intend to answer the comptroller as seriously as possible by the end of the month," the PMO stated. "[Lindenstrauss's] urgency isn't clear to us, and it appears that some motive we can't understand is behind this impossible deadline." Lindenstrauss has authorized and pursued a number of investigations against Olmert, who has been accused in several instances of corruption while serving in various public offices. Pending investigations include a criminal probe into the 2005 sale of the controlling interest in Bank Leumi stock, in which Olmert (then finance minister) allegedly made changes to the tender to increase a colleague's chance of winning it; a probe into suspected bribery in a real estate deal during his term as mayor of Jerusalem; and a promise by Lindenstrauss to investigate recent accusations that while serving as industry, trade, and labor minister, Olmert granted a number of favors to members of the Likud central committee. In addition Lindenstrauss published in November a report that concluded that the National Security Council fails to "fulfill its function" because security decisions are made by the prime minister and a small group of associates. The comptroller pressed for legislation defining the NSC's power. Lindenstrauss has denied "persecuting" Olmert or overstepping his authority as comptroller.