Comptroller: Israel Police Awarded Contract to Company Headed by Gantz After Receiving False Information From It

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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Benny Gantz and former Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich in Beit Shemesh, Israel, February 18, 2019.
Benny Gantz and former Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich in Beit Shemesh, Israel, February 18, 2019. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira has found that the Israel Police violated regulations in awarding a project worth 50 million shekels ($13.7 million) to Fifth Dimension, a company at which Benny Gantz, the Kahol Lavan party leader, was chairman of the board at the time.

Shapira found that the job was awarded to Fifth Dimension without inviting bids from other suppliers, and in a report issued Wednesday, also said Fifth Dimension had had no prior experience to bid for the work and had provided false information to police representatives about the company's capabilities. The firm marketed an artificial intelligence system for law enforcement agencies to process intelligence information.

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Shapira found that the Fifth Dimension informed the police that it had been in existence for four years when it was actually established just two years previously, that the company had a product ready for use, which was not the case, and that it had five other clients, all of which were security-related entities when in fact it had no other customers.

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Doron Cohen, Fifth Dimension's former CEO, called the comptroller's conclusions "falsehoods and hallucinations" and added that if there had been any mistakes made in the matter, they were committed by the police.

The comptroller also found that the Home Front Command is not prepared for war due to its severe shortage of rescue equipment. In addition, the comptroller said the reserve battalions' readiness for war is low.

Furthermore, severe impairments in the Israeli Air Force's chopper array and an inability to face required operational missions were noted, as well as the ground forces' unwillingness to cooperate with the IAF.   

As disclosed last month by Haaretz, the police paid 4 million shekels to carry out a pilot program even though ultimately the full project never came to fruition. Fifth Dimension was founded in 2014. Gantz, a former army chief of staff, was its chairman and Ram Ben-Barak, a former deputy head of the Mossad intelligence agency who is now running for the Knesset on the Kahol Lavan slate, was its president. The company ceased operations last year and its entire staff was laid off.

The Israel Police said in response that their purchases are always carried out in accordance to the law, and that they have studied the findings of the report and "will implement the matters it raises."

Gantz's party, Kahol Lavan, said in response that there was no wrongdoing on his behalf, stressing the report focuses on the Israel Police. 

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