State Comptroller Joseph Shapira is launching an inquiry into the funding of public officials' expenses in Israel and overseas following public criticism over the prime minister's expenses.
The scope of the inquiry has yet to be decided. A discussion on the issue will be held next week. It is possible the comptroller will examine which costs should be financed by the official and which should be covered by the state.
- PM demanded airplane 'bedchamber' costing $127,000
- PM's driver gets 'bonus' trip to China
- PM gets NIS 10,000 ice cream budget
Earlier this month, a Channel 10 exposé revealed that Netanyahu had demanded that a bedchamber be installed on the plane which took him and his wife Sara to the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in London.
According to the report, the installation cost the Israeli tax payer $127,000. This sparked widespread criticism in light of the Finance Ministry's new austerity measures.
Following an administrative appeal by The Movement for Freedom of Information to the Jerusalem District Court, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to publish the PM's Residence expenses report, and the information reveals the budget grew by about 80% in the years 2009-2012, and was estimated at NIS 3.29 million ($920,000) last year compared to NIS 1.8 million ($504,000) in 2009.
The expenses report includes the official residence on Balfur Street in Jerusalem and Netanyahu's private homes in Caesarea and on Gaza Street in the capital.
The State Comptroller then asked the prime minister's bureau for clarifications on the bedchamber issue and on the funding of Netanyahu's driver's travel to China as part of a recent state visit. "These issues must be made clear to public," Shapira explained.
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