Accountant in Hirchson affair: 'Nili was only a conduit for transfering the funds '
"I know we asked questions at the time, and we received answers. We couldn't do any more. The evidence is that when the police came, they heard our explanations and left," said Zohar, referring to the multi-million scandal at the organization that is at the center of attention due to the involvement of Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson.
Zohar, Zohar were the long-standing accountants for Nili, a daughter organization of the National Workers Organization (NWO). The police are now investigating fraud and embezzlement charges at Nili against the chairman, Ovadia Cohen.
According to reports, the amounts involved reached NIS 6 million. However, the organization had an annual turnover of just NIS 11.7 million in 2003, the year the fraud came to light. Therefore, the amount of the fraud should have been significant, but there is no mention whatsoever of the matter in the organization's books or reports prepared by Zohar, Zohar. Non-profit organizations are required by law to submit annual reports to the Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations.
The accountants knew nothing of the fraud, according to Aharon Zohar, and the heads of the NWO never notified them either. "The thefts, as far as we know today, were not done within Nili, but Nili only served as a conduit to transfer the monies. The National Workers Organization was involved in a number of cases where funds earmarked for one non-profit were transferred to it via another non-profit. So it seems happened here, the monies were only transferred via Nili," said Zohar.
"But the money was not meant for use by Nili and therefore, there was no effect on the accounts," he continued. "When the investigation was announced I was also surprised how it could be that the books, which we supervised, had activities of turning checks into cash. Therefore, I checked and was told that the cash actions did not take place within Nili, but in other non-profit organizations which received the money via Nili," added Zohar.
The only thing related to the affair in Nili's books was a loan granted by NWO to Nili, which appeared in the 2004 report. The NIS 1.2 million loan was given without a repayment date and with no interest or linkage. However, there was no mention of the loan in the 2003 report, despite the board of director's statement that the loan was granted in 2003 and was for NIS 2.5 million.
Zohar explained that except for the NIS 2.5 million loan, they did not detect any exceptional activities at Nili. He said they asked questions and received answers. The fact that Nili needed an emergency loan did not set off a red light for the accountants. "Nili always received allotments from the NWO over the years, and we did not see any difference between the no-interest loan and the allotments, even though the loan was a one-time matter," said Zohar.
Zohar also revealed that the accountants were questioned as part of the police investigations.