State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss will have less time than usual to devote to his report on the Harpaz affair if Lindenstrauss remains insistent that the document be released before his term ends on July 3, a former senior adviser to the comptroller has told Haaretz.
The High Court of Justice has given Col. Erez Weiner, a subject of Lindenstrauss' report, three weeks to respond to the comptroller's draft.
"Compressing the process into a week will not enable a thorough review of Weiner's contentions," said Meir Gilboa, a former senior adviser to Lindenstrauss on fighting corruption.
According to the draft, Weiner, who was an aide to Gabi Ashkenazi when Ashkenazi was IDF chief of staff, coordinated communications with Lt. Col. (res ) Boaz Harpaz. Harpaz is suspected of forging a document designed to scuttle Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant's candidacy to succeed Ashkenazi as IDF chief of staff last year.
Weiner has been accused of stalling the completion of the comptroller's report until after Lindenstrauss leaves office. On Monday, the High Court ordered Weiner to respond to the draft by June 25. This would leave Lindenstrauss a week to complete the final version.
"If the state comptroller insists on releasing the Harpaz report on the timetable that has been set, he will have no choice but to bend accepted work rules," Gilboa said.
Gilboa says Lindenstrauss' insistence on releasing it by July 3 rather than leaving it to his successor, Joseph Shapira, stems from personal motives. He says Lindenstrauss wants to get back at Weiner for filing his High Court petition in the case. Lindenstrauss also wants to enhance his prestige before leaving office, Gilboa says.
According to Gilboa, normal procedure in the comptroller's office requires that after the subject of a report submits a response to a draft, the comptroller's staff thoroughly reviews the response against other evidence. It then decides which of the comptroller's allegations should remain. The more complex the matter, the more time is necessary.
Once the staff completes its review, the report goes to their superiors in the office for approval; sometimes it is returned to the staff for further work or clarifications. The report is also approved by the legal adviser to the comptroller's office, and sometimes by the economic adviser as well.
According to procedure, the document is also read by a staff member who was not involved in the investigation. It is usually then reviewed by an adviser to the state comptroller, and only then by the state comptroller himself, Gilboa said.
Lindenstrauss' office said that at this point, the comptroller and a large staff are striving to finish the report soon, consistent with the timetable set by the court for Weiner's response. The comptroller's office noted that the draft report was sent to the five individuals whose conduct is dealt with in the report - including Weiner - several months ago. Three of them have already responded.
The comptroller's office said the investigation would continue to be carried out according to set office procedure "thoroughly and professionally." The office said there was no basis to Gilboa's claim that Lindenstrauss was insisting that the report be released while he is still in office to enhance his prestige.
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