(MTI) – Sandor Burany, Socialist head of parliament’s budget committee, has called a meeting of the body for next Monday to hear Gyorgy Matolcsy, governor of the National Bank, as well as members of the supervisory board in connection with recent purchases by the central bank.
Burany told MTI on Tuesday that apart from his Socialist Party, the opposition LMP and E-PM parties have also urged a hearing with the National Bank leaders.
The deputy head of the committee, however, said in a statement that Burany had convened the body illegally and without prior consultations. Lajos Szucs, a ruling Fidesz delegate, insisted that such matters are overviewed by the economic committee and suggested that the head of the central bank is not responsible to the budget committee.
The National Bank’s operations are supervised by the State Audit Office, which reports to the economic committee, therefore the budget committee does not have the authority to investigate the matter or hear members of the supervisory board, Szucs argued. Fidesz-delegated members of the budget committee will “not assist in that unlawful act”, he said, and called on other invitees to Monday’s hearing to follow suit.
Earlier in the day, MP Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, speaking on behalf of E-PM, demanded that the body should hear Matolcsy as well as Economy Minister Mihaly Varga over the central bank’s recent “spending spree”.
The central bank has “again made some extraordinary purchases,” Szelenyi told a press conference. She insisted that the bank’s supervisory board had not convened in the recent period and Matolcsy had “run wild”.
The National Bank of Hungary has spent money on luxury property acquisitions and injected over 200 billion forints (EUR 635.6m) into foundations aimed at teaching “an alternative, unorthodox economics a la Matolcsy,” she said. The governor and leadership of the central bank have absolutely no authorisation to do such things, as the bank is owned by the state and its extra revenues should have been paid into the central budget in the form of dividends, Szelenyi insisted. Matolcsy in this case is “lying” when he cites the independence and financial freedom of the central bank.