Israeli Councilman Arrested on Suspicion of Tampering With Municipal Bids

The municipality official was allegedly involved in helping bids for the city’s transportation services, special needs education

File photo: A view of the city of Beit Shemesh.
Olivier Fitoussi

A member of the Beit Shemesh city council was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of tampering with two municipal bid invitations, fraud and breach of trust.

Haaretz learned that the official was allegedly involved in helping certain parties win the bids, both of which involve the city’s transportation services for children in need of special education.

In the first case, the suspect allegedly adapted the terms of an invitation to bid for consulting services in connection with the transportation services so that a crony of his would win it. In the second instance, he allegedly intervened to ensure that a certain company would win the bid for the transportation services, even though its proposal was 15 million shekels higher than its competitor’s.

The police arrested the official in city hall on Wednesday morning and raided his office and home, after a covert investigation into the allegations. Haaretz learned that several senior municipal officials were called to the police station later in the day to testify on the issues under investigation.

The inquiry followed a complaint about the goings on regarding the city’s invitation to bid for the special education transportation services about a year ago.

The investigators gathered testimonies and evidence that raised suspicion that the terms for the bids had been changed in favor of the companies that won them, although they did not fill the required criteria.

“The attempt to interfere and subvert a public invitation to bid, for a project financed on taxpayers’ money, in favor of personal acquaintances and interested parties is extremely grave, as it causes harm to law-abiding people,” the police said in a statement.

Parts of the case are included in a legal suit submitted by the transportation company. Police said further arrests are expected.