Photo: Vadim Daniel
Bar On
Photo: Erez Kolomoiski

Finance minister decides not to renew accountant-general's contract

Zelekha claims decision prompted by his vigorous fight against government corruption

Finance Minister Ronnie Bar On has informed the accountant-general, Yaron Zelekha that his contract would not be renewed at the end of October, when he is set to complete a four-year tenure.


A clause in Zelekha's contract allows him to continue for a fifth year in the position if he wishes to do so.


Zelekha said in response that, "The attempt to discontinue my tenure is illegal. It was carried out without authority and does not bind me. I will not allow a group of people suspected of criminal offenses to deter me from my mission to guard the public's treasury."


Bar On's Office confirmed the report, and claimed that the finance minister's decision has been examined and received legal approval.


In a statement to the press, Bar On stressed the importance of rotation, and said that "a four-year tenure is reasonable and honorable and should be concluded on time."


In response, Zelekha's attorney reportedly told the Finance Minister's Office that the decision not to renew the contract was "taken at the backdrop of the accountant-general's vigorous activity against improper governmental actions, including those taken by the prime minister."


The statement referred to Zelekha's testimony against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the investigation into the latter's alleged involvement in the Bank Leumi sale, and to his recently published comprehensive plan to fight corruption, which Zelekha released without informing his superiors at the Finance Ministry.


State comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said he was considering granting Zelekha immunity against dismissal.


Lindenstrauss said he had announced on several occasions that anyone who exposed corruption in the State of Israel would receive full protection under the law.


“This kind of protection is an important and immediate step in the struggle against public corruption,” the state comptroller added.


Sources close to Lindenstrauss said no complaint had yet been received by the Zelekha against the Finance Ministry, but added that should such a complaint be filed, it would be dealt with immediately.


Aviram Zino contributed to this story.


פרסום ראשון: 08.30.07, 09:32
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