Citizens Group Finds Lost 20 Billion Shekels in Government Coffers

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israeli government ministries have been found to be underspending their budgets by over 20 billion shekels in the past three years, according to the Citizen’s Empowerment Center.

Among those guilty of the alleged under-utilization of funds were the Housing and Defense Ministries, which underspent by 9 percent and 234 percent (5.65 billion shekels), respectively.

Overall, the report, titled “Lost Budget Book,” says that during 2013–15, 213 budget items were under-utilized by 30 percent or more, Globes quoted the CEC as saying.

The question of what happened to the money was only partially answered. Roughly 9 billion was transferred to other uses, as “deviations” from the official state budget.

In addition, a section dealing with budget reserves revealed systematic hidden transfers from the publicly-known budgetary framework. These items amounted to over NIS 1.25 billion during the period examined. The book also provides details on NIS 10.168 billion in open reserve items, from which entire budgets were diverted for years.

The Citizen’s Empowerment Center’s director-general Tomer Lotan presented the document to members of the Knesset on Monday.