Comptroller Questioned Ganot's Integrity in 2005

The State Comptroller's Report for 2005 said that in 2002-2003, when Yaakov Ganot headed the Immigration Administration (IA), the reported numbers for migrant workers expelled from Israel were inflated by tens of percentage points.

The report, which did not mention Ganot by name, listed several grave findings in the administration's functioning.

Ganot was already serving as Prison Service commissioner, a post he was appointed to in July 2003, when the report was released.

To inflate the number of foreigners supposedly expelled from the country, the IA used to include in its figures tourists from Western countries and Jews who had overstayed their visas (see box), the Comptroller's Report said.

The report slams malfunctions in the IA's activity too, in its field-work supervision and its cooperation with other government bodies. It blasts the administration for wasting resources, neglecting to enforce the law vis-a-vis the employers of migrant workers, and infringing on those workers' rights.

The report found that not all the laborers who were expelled by air had been made to sign a form waiving their right to appeal their expulsion. "It is therefore doubtful whether the detainees' agreement had been given willingly and freely," the comptroller wrote.

The report castigated the cooperation of the Prison Service and the Immigration Administration. Although the Prison Service (which was already headed by Ganot) announced that the Maasiyahu prison compound was open to admit foreign workers 24 hours a day, documents from the IA showed it did not deliver them at night. Due to the lack of coordination between these bodies, said the report, "foreign workers' human rights were infringed upon" and the process of their expulsion "was filled with shortcomings... [and] the norms and regulations were not properly enforced."

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter praised Ganot's efficiency this week, when he announced his appointment as national police chief. Dichter also said the organizational structure of the police needed to be changed.

The Comptroller's Report raises doubts about both Ganot's efficiency and his integrity.

In the year between the time Ganot formed the Immigration Administration and his appointment as prison commissioner, police commanders occasionally commented at general command staff debates that the IA's figures were artificially inflated and were unreliable. Ganot reacted to these comments with fury.

In the '90s, after Ganot - then a police major general - was acquitted, because of reasonable doubt, of charges of fraud and breach of trust, and put on disciplinary trial, the state prosecution demanded his removal from the police altogether. Then-public security minister Avigdor Kahalani undertook in a letter to the prosecution that Ganot would be "removed from all field command posts and from central headquarters posts."