Bill Would Grant Immunity to State Comptroller

The state comptroller would have immunity from prosecution or civil suits for any act carried out as part of his job, according to a bill presented by several Knesset members yesterday.

This immunity would also cover any written or verbal opinions issued as part of his job or in order to carry out his job.

The MKs, from factions spanning the political spectrum, explained that they proposed the bill after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanded that the police open a criminal investigation against State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss for allegedly abusing his power and for "systematic leaks." This demand, they said, compromised the state comptroller's independence, which is essential for him to function properly.

The lawmakers said the bill would correct this situation by freeing the comptroller of the fear of legal proceedings.

They also noted that the comptroller is answerable only to the Knesset. The bill therefore states that only the Knesset State Control Committee could revoke the state comptroller's immunity.

The sponsors are Aryeh Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party), Sheli Yachimovich (Labor), Amira Dotan (Kadima), Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP), Limor Livnat (Likud) and Ran Cohen (Meretz).