After months of an investigation conducted by the Movement for Quality Government and following a complaint to the police and the State Attorney’s Office, the investigation against the Elad Municipality officials resulted in arrests and detention of city officials as reported by YWN-Israel. The movement began an investigation following complaints from Elad residents.
After months of in-depth investigation conducted by the Movement for Quality Government and following a complaint to the police and the State Prosecutor’s Office, the police announced on Sunday an investigation was being conducted against senior officials of the Elad municipality. At that point, the investigation became overt and arrests were made.
In a police raid on Elad during the morning hours, four suspects were detained for questioning and three other suspects were detained on suspicion of involvement in bribery, fraud and breach of trust. They were placed under arrest and arraigned.
Among the detainees are a council member and a public employee in the Elad municipal council, a construction supervisor, a municipal director, a contractor, and more.
Four of the suspects were brought to the Magistrate’s Court in Rishon ‘Tzion for a hearing on their case, and the police asked to extend their detention according to the needs of the interrogation.
Movement for Quality Government details the events that led to the raid:
**In recent months, complaints were received from the residents of Elad, who complained for a long time regarding the behavior of the mayor and other officials in a number of events in recent years.
The complaints were backed up by documentation of the residents’ and correspondence with the authorities, in which they repeatedly warned of what was going on in the municipality, while requesting enforcement action, with warnings accompanied by various documents and evidence that was also examined by the Movement.
The Movement contacted the police and the State Attorney’s Office on the basis of these requests and the documents, which substantiated the allegations, raising real concern of serious offenses regarding integrity in the public service, including fear of offenses of election bribery, perjury and other crimes. The same information leads to a fear of a real pattern of action by elements in the Elad Municipality, a method that involves deliberately turning a blind eye to the planning and construction offenses of those close to municipality officials, and actually assisting this situation by committing criminal offenses, such as making false statements.
According to the Movement for Quality Government, in some cases there is a clear link between elected officials, officials of the municipality, and institutions that enjoy the result of the offenses. “As soon as it becomes clear that the information is correct, this is a phenomenon that is widespread in conjunction with the senior figures in the local government involved in it, resulting in one of the most serious cases exposed in recent years,” they say in the Movement for Quality Government.
The method of allocating land and granting building permits in the city of Elad:
*The Movement exposed cases in which there is a fear of making allocations of assets at no cost to bodies with a political connection to council members, serious planning & construction offenses carried out with the full knowledge of municipality officials, and active assistance on the part of the city’s management in activities that raise suspicions of fraudulent fraud by officials in beneficiary bodies.
Some of the offenses were committed shortly before the elections, and therefore also raise suspicion of election bribery.
*The allocation of land and building permits in connection with the granting of benefits near the municipal elections: a suspicion that the municipality and its leader acted to distribute benefits to groups and large communities in the form of land allocations to various institutions.
*Fear of planning and construction offenses: While falsifying statements by senior officials in the Elad Municipality: suspicion of carrying out work without a permit as required by law, with the knowledge of the authority; and concealing public information from residents who turned to the local authority.
In addition, there were a number of cases in which there is a real concern regarding allocations, granting of building permits while deviating from the plan, and the systematic disregard of the local authority committing offenses – all beneficiaries being associations or institutions that have direct connection with elected officials or officials of the local government.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)