Few Fraud Unit Cases End in Verdict in Past Five Years

Only 37 (8 percent) of the 467 cases that the police fraud unit handed the State Prosecutor in the past five years have ended in a court verdict.

One-third - 34 percent - are still pending the prosecution's decision, Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann said yesterday, on the last day of the Knesset's summer session.

Friedmann presented the figures in response to a parliamentary question by State Control Committee chairman Michael Eitan (Likud).

Friedmann said 50 of the files (11 percent) had brought about indictments, but are still pending a verdict. The prosecution decided to close 216 cases with no indictment (46 percent) and transferred five cases to police claims' units. The prosecution has yet to decide what to do with 159 cases (34 percent).

Eitan's question was triggered by a comment made fraud unit commander Miri Golan in Magistrate Shalom Brener's report on the wiretapping of Vice Premier Haim Ramon's phone. "Files dealing with dreadful bribery affairs are lying around with the prosecution for five to six years, and no indictments are made," she stated.

Eitan is now demanding explanations for the backlog of files. He said he feared the prosecution was waiving indictments due to the work overload, and asked the prosecution for a breakdown of the files pending decisions. He said it was important to ascertain whether politicians' cases wait more time until a decision is made.

"We know Lieberman's file is celebrating its bar mitzvah," Eitan said.

After receiving answers, Eitan intends to debate the issue in the Control Committee.