Former internal security minister allegedly made illegal political appointments.
By YAAKOV KATZ
The same day Tzahi Hanegbi announced his decision to join Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Kadima Party, the police announced on Wednesday they had found an evidentiary basis to press charges against the minister on charges of making illegal political appointments.
Police passed on the evidence collected during the year-and-a-half investigation to the State Prosecutor's Office which will make the final decision on whether Hanegbi will in the end be indicted.
An investigation was launched against Hanegbi in August 2004 after then-state comptroller Eliezer Goldberg published a harsh report alleging that the Likud minister had illegally appointed Likud cohorts as environment ministers during the years 2001 to 2003.
The comptroller found that Hanegbi had instructed ministry officials whom to appoint to jobs that did not require a regular tender and that the appointees were members of the Likud Central Committee or their relatives.
In some cases, the comptroller found that the jobs the appointees received were fictitious.
Police said they found evidence that backed up suspicions that Hanegbi "misused his position, gave out election bribes and lied under oath."
In addition to Hanegbi, police also recommended pressing charges against the former director general of the Environment Ministry Shmuel Hershkowitz as well as the head of human resources Yoram Horowitz.