Saturday 17 August 2019

Acting Central Bank chief declines to say if she's concerned about controversy surrounding incoming boss Gabriel Makhlouf

Sharon Donnery
Sharon Donnery
Gabriel Makhlouf will take up his role as Central Bank governor on September 1 under a cloud of controversy. Photo: Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Work is under way to prepare the “groundwork” for the new Governor of the Central Bank to take up his position, acting chief Sharon Donnery has said.

Ms Donnery declined to say whether she was concerned about the controversy surrounding the appointment of Gabriel Makhlouf.

But she reiterated that the former New Zealand Treasury Secretary will make a public statement before taking up office in September.

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Gabriel Makhlouf will take up his role as Central Bank governor on September 1 under a cloud of controversy. Photo: Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg

Mr Makhlouf’s final weeks in New Zealand were marred by a major investigation into budget leaks.

New Zealand's State Services Commission criticised his "clumsy" handling of an embarrassing leak which he claimed was the result of systematic and deliberate hacking.

However, it quickly emerged that the treasury was not targeted by hackers and the information had actually been published on its website accidentally.

READ MORE: Makhlouf to explain NZ budget furore before he takes up Central Bank job

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe decided to proceed with the selection of Mr Makhlouf, saying he had 30 years of experience working in public service around the world.

Speaking about controversy, Ms Donnery said: “The appointment of a new governor was a matter for the minister. From our point of view in the bank, we’re preparing his briefing packs and all he’ll need to get into the role.”

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Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Asked whether she was concerned about the reputational impact of what occurred in New Zealand, she replied: “The appointment is a matter for the minister. We’re preparing the groundwork for him coming.

“I think there has been public commentary about him making a statement before he arrives and that is what I think will happen in the next few weeks.”

READ MORE: Taoiseach at odds with Donohoe on bank chief

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