Labour wants appointment of Central Bank governor stalled

Gabriel Makhlouf facing an inquiry during last weeks in New Zealand finance ministry

Gabriel Makhlouf is facing an inquiry during his final weeks as a senior official in the New Zealand finance ministry. Photograph: Bloomberg.

Gabriel Makhlouf is facing an inquiry during his final weeks as a senior official in the New Zealand finance ministry. Photograph: Bloomberg.

 

The Labour Party has called for the appointment of the new Central Bank governor to be put on hold until an investigation into his actions in New Zealand concludes.

Gabriel Makhlouf is facing an inquiry during his final weeks as a senior official in the New Zealand finance ministry after he claimed that budget details had been hacked and published by opposition politicians. It later transpired that the country’s treasury had mistakenly published the information itself.

Mr Makhlouf was chosen last month to succeed Philip Lane as governor of the Central Bank. However, Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton has called for the appointment to be put on hold pending the results of the investigation.

“The governor of the Central Bank must be above reproach,” Ms Burton said in a statement.

“Following the collapse of our economy, public trust in financial institutions and the state bodies which govern them collapsed as well.

“It took the best part of a decade to get our economy and public confidence back on track. We cannot jeopardise that confidence by appointing someone under investigation in another country. Minster (for Finance Paschal) Donohoe must now suspend the appointment of Mr Makhlouf until the full findings of the investigation in New Zealand are published.”

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has made a similar call, while Fianna Fail finance spokesman has written to Mr Donohoe to express his concern at the development in New Zealand.

The Department of Finance has sought to stay out of the controversy.

“This is a matter for the New Zealand treasury. We have no comment to make on a political matter in New Zealand,” a spokesman said.

The matter is likely to be raised by Opposition TDs when the Dáil returns next week.