Peres’s Residence Found to have Breached Regulations

While the public has been focused on the State Comptroller's report which was highly critical of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's expenditures from the public coffers, the Comptroller has also sharply criticized the management of the Presidential Residence under former President Shimon Peres.

The Comptroller's office found numerous defects in the management of the Presidential Residence during Peres's period in fields ranging from human resources to finances, acquisitions, as well as work and budgetary planning.

Likewise the report found the Residence was at fault when it came to funding the "Presidential Conference," and even noted that there were shortcomings raised in the previous report that have yet to be corrected.

In terms of human resources, it was found that the Presidential Residence employed 14 workers in confidential positions, "but it wasn't found that an assessment of needs was conducted on the need to employ them in these confidential positions."

In the previous report the Presidential Residence was required to cease employing a certain adviser as an external contractor.

"Despite this, the Presidential Residence continued to employ him until the end of President Peres's term," found the report. "The State Comptroller's office warned the Presidential Residence that it had not corrected this fault."

Between 2011 and 2014, the original budget of the Residence was between 40 and 44 million shekels ($10-11 million) per year.

"During those years an addition to the budget of the Presidential Residence was requested at an average rate of 20%," the report detailed. "This shows that the budgetary branch in the treasury did not form a budget correctly reflecting the Presidential Residence's expenses."

What's more, the report revealed that the budgetary branch "received back in 2011 information that there were gaps between the budget that was formed and the needs. As a result also in 2013-2014 a recognized addition was demanded throughout the year."

Regarding the funding of the President's Conference, it was written that "in the previous report on the Presidential Residence that included references to the issue, it was written that the Conference being a state event should be funded by the state budget and not through donations."

"It was found that the President's Conferences which were held under the president were funded by donations in breach of the warning of the State Comptroller," read the report. "Hebrew University which was the source through which the Conference was prepared and held did not in effect receive responsibility for the activities of the President's Conference, but this is how things were presented."

"Most faults were fixed"

Peres's office responded tot he report, saying "we welcome the work of the State Comptroller which can help make the work processes in the Presidential Residence more efficient. As rises from the report, during the ninth president's (Peres's) term very serious and wide-ranging work was done to improve and make efficient the different managerial fields, and due to the report of the previous Comptroller most of the faults that were noted in the report were fixed."

Ayelet Frisch, Peres's spokesperson, also responded, saying that "the management of the Presidential Residence during the period of the ninth president's term gave great importance to the notices of the State Comptroller and led, together with different professional sources, deep processes meant to bring an improvement and greater efficiency in all managerial topics."

"These efforts even found expression in the State Comptroller's report, and we welcome that," Frisch added.

Peres has previously come in for criticism for holding a two million shekel ($450,000) 90th birthday party, and for leading a threefold increase of the Presidential Residence's expenses on the state.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/191463

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