Following inquiries from a number of sources, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has ordered an investigation of criminal aspects of the dealings of the police with Fifth Dimension, a company that was headed by Blue&White chairman Benny Gantz. In March, then state comptroller, retired judge Yosef Shapira, decided that despite irregularities in the company’s conduct, no criminal aspects were found in the case, Channel 13 News reported Monday night.
— חדשות 13 (@newsisrael13) September 9, 2019
State Comptroller Shapira’s report, published on March 25, lists all the deficiencies found in police procurement procedures in recent years, and includes criticism of the police conduct in its dealings with Gantz’s company. The comptroller found flaws in the police conduct when deciding to launch a 4 million shekel pilot without a tender, and to purchase technology services from Fifth Dimension.
The comptroller’s report shows that the information presented to decision makers regarding the length of time the company operates and its customer base was incorrect, and that the contract was signed based on this incorrect information.
The comptroller added that Fifth Dimension senior officials participated in police discussion about contacting their company to check the suitability of the system they offered for police needs, which gave them the upper hand over competing companies.
According to the comptroller’s report, Gantz’s company lied to the auctions committee, Gantz and then police commissioner Roni Alsheikh acted with the absence of transparency, and Fifth Dimension caused the police the loss of 4 million shekels. That loss would have grown to 50 million shekels, had Gantz not declared bankruptcy.
The Likud at the time announced that the media and the enforcement agencies had set the rules of the game according to which the public must know all about a candidate for prime minister before the election, and quoted senior Blue&White leader Moshe Ya’alon, who declared that “Israel needs a prime minister with nothing to investigate about him.”
“There shouldn’t be one law for Netanyahu and another law for Benny Gantz, an immediate investigation of Benny Gantz must be ordered,” the Likud declared.
As mentioned, the State Comptroller at the time stated that there was no evidence of an illegal connection between the police and Fifth Dimension, other than the former giving unfair advantage in a contract to the latter. Now, following inquiries from various sources, AG Mandelblit has ordered a criminal investigation into the relationship between Fifth Dimension and the police.
Following Mandelblit’s instructions, in recent weeks, the State Attorney’s Office has requested documents related to the case from the comptroller’s office, to check that there are, in fact, no criminal suspicions in the case.
It should be emphasized that Gantz himself does not face criminal suspicions.
Blue&White issued a response saying: “It’s a recycled and already refuted story, election nonsense. In one week, Blue&White will be the largest party and we’ll put an end to the Netanyahu regime.”
Possibly. But the story has the kind of odor that won’t go away after the election, no matter who puts an end to whom.