Comptroller Probes Appointments Made by Dalia Itzik to Small Business Authority

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is investigating whether improper appointments were made during MK Dalia Itzik's term as industry, trade and labor minister.

Lindenstrauss asked Itzik in January to clarify certain appointments made in the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority, which belongs to the ministry.

Itzik has yet to respond to Lindenstrauss' request, and the comptroller's office sent her a reminder recently. Itzik told the comptroller yesterday that she had not received any such request.

The State Comptroller's Report, which apparently will be published in the next few weeks, also deals with illegal appointments in the authority during Prime Minister-designate Ehud Olmert's tenure as industry and trade minister, and Ra'anan Dinur's tenure as ministry director general. Appointments made by Oved Yehezkel, a senior aide of Olmert, are also being scrutinized. All of those under investigation have received notification from the comptroller's office, and all have asked for more time to respond.

Sources in the economic ministries said yesterday that while Itzik was industry and trade minister, the small business authority was under the control of her deputy, MK Eli Ben-Menachem.

Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz most likely will ask to deal with the report's findings, which could affect the future of those investigated as public servants.

While Itzik said she has yet to receive a request from the comptroller's office or any other governmental institution over the matter, she said that inquiries over a document written by Dinur had been made. She said that the ministry handled the inquiry without involving her.

No reaction was forthcoming from the ministry.