Howlin accuses Donohoe of ‘hiding’ over Makhlouf appointment

Minister for Finance ‘less than forthcoming’ on issues around new Central Bank governor

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: said concerns expressed over the appointment of Gabriel Makhlouf also echoed those of his own party.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: said concerns expressed over the appointment of Gabriel Makhlouf also echoed those of his own party. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has been accused of being “less than forthcoming” on issues surrounding the appointment of a new governor of the Central Bank.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin said Mr Donohoe was “hiding behind process” over the appointment of Gabriel Makhlouf, who took up his new role at the start of the month.

Internal documents show Central Bank directors were concerned about the “reputational damage” caused by controversy surrounding their new governor.

Mr Howlin said the concerns expressed echoed those of his own party.

He also claimed Mr Donohoe also “clearly” had similar concerns. “It is clear that the Central Bank commission did too.”

Mr Makhlouf had claimed the accidental leak of sensitive budgetary material while he was secretary to the treasury in New Zealand was a result of a hack, but a follow-up police inquiry found no evidence to support this.

A spokeswoman for Mr Donohoe said a report by the New Zealand State Services Commission “is definitive that Mr Makhlouf acted at all times with honesty, integrity, and in good faith, and was politically neutral throughout the matter.

“Moreover, the commission is not taking any action against Mr Makhlouf and view this matter as being closed.”