Knesset extends Lindenstrauss term by 3 months (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 06/27/12)
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The Knesset passed a law extending State Comptroller Micha
Lindenstrauss’s tenure by three months on Tuesday in an expedited
process, despite opposition from the Justice Ministry due to
Lindenstrauss, whose term as comptroller officially ends on Sunday,
will be permitted to finish his investigation of the Harpaz scandal,
which involves an alleged forgery by a confidant of former IDF chief
of staff Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Gabi Ashkenazi.
At the same time, Judge Joseph Shapira is expected to take his
position as new State Comptroller on Sunday and work on all topics
other than the Harpaz affair. Shapira will decide which resources
Lindenstrauss will be able to use to continue working on his report.
The bill underwent an accelerated legislative process, in which it
was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday
and passed its first plenum reading Monday evening. Less than 24
hours later, it passed second and third (final) votes with 13 MKs in
favor and one opposed.
According to the new law, an outgoing comptroller can take up to
three months to finish a report after his term ends if he has already
submitted a draft. Therefore, Lindenstrauss can complete his report
on the Harpaz affair, but not on the “Bibitours” scandal about Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s trips abroad.
On Tuesday morning, the Knesset State Control Committee held a
meeting to discuss the bill, which was proposed by committee chairman
Uri Ariel (National Union), in which the Justice Ministry presented
its opposition to the legislation.
Sarit Spiegelstein from the Justice Ministry’s legislation department
pointed out that Ariel’s bill defies Basic Law: State Comptroller,
which allows each comptroller to serve one term and no longer. As
such, she said the Basic Law should be amended.
“Reports are prepared by staff and not the comptroller himself,”
Spiegelstein explained. “Therefore, there is no reason for the new
comptroller to finish a report the previous one started.”
Knesset Legal Advisor Eyal Yinon agreed with the Justice Ministry’s
position, and suggested that the bill be changed to require Shapira
to approve of Lindenstrauss’ report and forbid the outgoing
comptroller, who already finished a draft of the Harpaz report, from
collecting further testimony on the issue.
Ariel responded that he will propose bills to change the Basic Law,
and called for other MKs to suggest potential amendments. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/27/12)
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