Caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni announced on Thursday a three-month extension of a deadline to provide all data required for a forensic audit of the Central Bank’s accounts, after the bank declined to submit all information needed, citing banking secrecy.
Wazni assured that forensic audit is one step forward towards much-needed reforms, noting that President Michel Aoun has expressed strict commitment to it.
The announcement came after a meeting between the Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal, James Daniell, Central Bank governor Riad Salameh, Aoun, and Wazni at Baabda Presidential Palace.
For his part, Aoun asserted the need of the government to conduct a financial forensic audit of Central Bank accounts, stressing the importance of this step in the context of necessary reforms to tackle financial and economic conditions in the country.
It was decided to extend the deadline required for the delivery of necessary documents for an additional three-month period, provided that some documents which have not yet been delivered would be delivered during that period.
In September, Alvarez and Marsal started a forensic audit of the Bank of Lebanon as part of measures towards reforms to lift the country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.
It set November 3 as a deadline for the bank to provide it with all information needed for the review.
But the central bank has handed over less than half of the documents required to proceed with the audit bringing the audit to a halt.
It says provisions of the Code of Money and Credit and the Banking Secrecy Law bar it from releasing the rest.