State Audit Work that Raises a Suspicion of Criminal Conduct – the Case of Israel
Yoram Rabin & Tehila Winograd, State Audit Work that Raises a Suspicion of Criminal Conduct – the Case of Israel, 63 Israel Journal of State Audit 75 (2019)
27 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 20, 2019
In course of an audit, the State Comptroller often discovers facts which suggest the possibility of criminal conduct. However, in Israel, the State Comptroller does not have legal authority to carry out criminal enforcement or investigatory activity. According to Section 14(c) of the Israeli State Comptroller Law 1958 [Consolidated Version], when a suspicion arises regarding the possible commission of a criminal act, the State Comptroller is required to notify the Attorney General. This phenomenon is hardly unique to Israel. Many countries have defined procedures for dealing with suspicions that arise during the work of the supreme audit institution regarding possible criminal conduct. Examples of such procedures, as they are used in other legal systems, are presented in this article - in their specific relevant contexts. Thus, over the years, pursuant to Section 14(c), when suspicions of criminal acts have arisen during the course of the State Comptroller’s work in conducting audits - these suspicions have been brought to the attention of the Attorney General. In some cases, the notifications are then followed by the Attorney General ordering an investigation, and some of these investigations have led to criminal trials or disciplinary hearings. Despite its seeming simplicity, the language of section 14(c) often raises various questions of interpretation affecting the state audit work, as well as the reciprocal and working relationships among the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, and the Israel Police. This essay will discuss a few of the interpretation issues that are inherent in Section 14(c), as well as the ways in which the section’s language interacts with other relevant legal texts. The objective of this article is thus to present the first research regarding the problems arising in the Section 14(c) context, and their effect on the state audit process and on the State Comptroller’s relations with the State Attorney’s office and with the Israel Police.
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