PMO Denies Harm to Accountant Freedom

The storm over the proposal to change the manner of appointing ministerial accountants continued yesterday. The Prime Minister's Office, which this week announced it stood behind the decision to take the decision out of the hands of the accountant general and hand it to a tenders committee, clarified that it has no intention of turning accountants of the ministries into ministry workers.

The PMO said this is "total nonsense that has no factual basis." The office insisted that "all we sought to do was to turn the process of selecting accountants, which is today conducted without any transparency or equality, into an orderly process," referring to the fact that the accountant general currently has sole power to decide the timing and hiring of ministerial accountants.

The PMO said this practice completely contradicted the state comptroller's report and insisted such accountants would continue to be answerable professionally to the accountant general.

The dispute erupted after Accountant General Yaron Zelekha sought to replace the PMO's accountant with someone opposed by the office's director general, Raanan Dinur.

Dinur claims that Zelekha promised him that the new accountant would be chosen by agreement and even supplied him a list of five candidates. However, Dinur asserts, Zelekha chose the one candidate he ruled out. Zelekha denies he made any such agreement.