Deputies recomend firing Central Bank head: Costa Rica

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The deputies of the Commission on Enteration and Public Expenditure will conclude this Thursday, April 18, the investigation against the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR) for having requested data that allow the identification of savers and debtors under the argument of building the climate change indicator that it agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They will vote for or against a number of recommendations contained in a final report. If approved, the document will then be transferred to the Legislative Plenary.

A draft of that report, to which The Observer had access, states that one of the recommendations would be addressed to the President of the Republic, Rodrigo Chaves, to urgently consider the dismissal of Roger Madrigal as president of the BCCR.

The reasons behind this recommendation are of unquestionable gravity, reflecting a series of irregularities that seriously compromise the integrity and proper functioning of our most important financial institution, the preliminary document reads.

These reasons are: lack of adherence to the regulations for asking for information relates to citizens and the adoption of hasty and reckless decisions to obtain such data, which today represents a latent risk to the economic stability of the country.

Mr Madrigal López’s tenure not only perpetuates that risk, but would also irreversibly compromise the integrity and credibility of our financial institutions, the document adds.

The draft report concludes that Madrigal acted with a lack of expertise and recklessly, “behaviour never before seen by any executive president in the Central Bank.”

The case would be transferred to the Public Prosecutor ' s Office and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic (PGR) is also recommending that an investigation into these events due to the possible commission of offences that could constitute acts that contradict the current legislation. 

Statistics and Data Protection laws were violated, they conclude

The conclusions of the legislative commission are not only in the direction of the bank’s legal inability to ask for all kinds of information from savers and debtors.

For legislators, the transfer of data made by three banking entities to the BCCR becomes a breach of the Statistics Act and the Law on the Protection of the Person against the processing of their personal data.

This commission concludes that the BCCR did not offer a thorough justification for requiring such detailed data from the clients of commercial banks since this is not essential to comply with the powers of the Central Bank, says the document, whose final version will be known this Thursday.

Authoritarian and disproportionate approach.

The report is in favor of the superintendent of financial institutions, Rocío Aguilar, who was denounced by the general manager of the BCCR, Hazel Valverde, in the face of the refusal to deliver the data.

The commission considers that Valverde acted in a “deliberate and explicitly reckless” way against Aguilar, who even in the face of doubts had asked for a criterion from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic (PGR) to know whether or not the data should pass.

This action not only denotes a lack of prudence and caution, but also reveals an authoritarian and excessive approach by the current Administration of the Central Bank, the draft says.

This behavior, contrary to good institutional practices, which are also part of a historical tradition of healthy institutional coexistence, underlines the need to critically examine the actions of the current administration, guaranteeing respect for the principles of dialogue and cooperation between government entities, he adds.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Observador