Monday, February 5, 2007

Israeli Official: Accountant General rigged tender in hiring cronies

Last update - 09:33 05/02/2007
Official: Accountant General rigged tender in hiring cronies

By Motti Bassok, Haaretz Correspondent

In a letter sent to Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson, State Comptroller Michael Lindenstrauss and Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander, a senior official at the Finance Ministry recently warned that Accountant General Yaron Zelekha appointed two of his soon-to-be deputies without tenders, in contravention of proper procedures.

"it is unthinkable to have the Accountant General's office deny worthy candidates equal opportunity in running for vacant positions, all the more when the office is called upon to serve as an example of integrity and proper management," the official, Adi Rivlin, director of national debt at the Accountant General's office said

"Selective and manipulative screening of candidates to discriminate in favor of cronies and against those who are not, cannot be tolerated," Rivlin added.

A similar letter was sent Sunday to Hirchson, Lindenstrauss, and Hollander by a group of anonymous Finance Ministry employees.

Rivlin was in the running for the position of head of the financing and capital market department at the Accountant General's office, which has become vacant with the retirement of the Vice Accountant General Yuavl Bronstein.

According to Rivlin, his candidacy was truncated when Zelekha decided to "catapult a person whose qualifications and experience in the field are unknown, and certainly do not match up to those of the other candidates, including myself."

"The Accountant General's conduct violates procedure, particularly in light of the State Comptroller's report on appointments made by Zelekha, where it was determined that even relatively junior appointments should be made according to set criteria and unambiguous protocols, not in a furtive and covert manner. This is true all the more in relation to the most senior positions at the Account General's office," Rivlin said.

In his letter, the complainant asks Hirchson, Lindenstrauss and Hollander to freeze the appointments immediately and to ensure that no other "rigged" tenders are advertised for the newly-vacant positions at the Accountant General's office.

In response, Zelekha's office released a statement saying that Rivlin's complaint does not reflect reality and that the complainant had not checked his facts adequately before writing "groundless slander." The response said also that Rivlin's contract has expired and it was agreed in negotiations that his employment would conclude in March.

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