Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is a liar, charged Accountant General Yaron Zelekha yesterday in the next latest skirmish over the privatization of Bank Leumi. Zelekha, an appointee of Benjamin Netanyahu to the Finance Ministry, had not gained appreciation from the top when he complained against Olmert - then the finance minister - in respect to the bank's sale.
"One would have to be blind and deaf not to notice inexplicable things about the Bank Leumi tender," Zelekha yesterday told the State Control Committee, which was discussing the present finance minister's refusal to extend Zelekha's contract. Finance Minister Roni Bar-On is a close associate of Olmert.
Zelekha went on to claim that Olmert had tried to evict him since the start of February 2006, after learning that the state comptroller had begun to probe the manner of Olmert's involvement in the tender process to sell the bank.
"Olmert is lying to the people and to the world, and is presenting a false impression that he had tried to fire me long beforehand," Zelekha told the committee yesterday.
Zelekha did not say whether he would ask the state comptroller to intervene with the finance minister on his behalf, or whether he might sue at the High Court.
"There have been four attempts to oust me," he said, adding that the Finance Ministry is not empowered to curtail his term in office. "What bothered me was that history would ascribe the responsibility for 'tailoring' the Bank Leumi tender, to me," he said.
State comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss told the committee and said that he had received a 22-page letter from Zelekha's lawyer, which he is studying. Lindenstrauss said he would shortly decide whether to issue an injunction protecting Zelekha from non-extension of his contract.
Bar-On for his part denies that Zelekha is being fired, and added that he and Olmert had never discussed the man. Nor is it treasury policy to extend the contract of the accountant general. Bar-On said it's only happened once in 18 years, in the case of Shy Talmon.
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