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Jul 16, 2008

Belize Bank challenges Appeal Board

The constitutional case brought by the Belize Bank against the Government got underway this afternoon before Chief Justice Abdulai Conteh. The Bank is challenging the composition and constitutionality of the Appeals Board of the Central Bank in relation to ten million dollars gifted to Belize by the government of Venezuela.

On March fourteenth, the Central Bank ordered the Belize Bank to return the money to the government of Belize. The directives came as a result of an examination that the Central Bank had conducted regarding the handling of funds transferred by the Governments of Venezuela and Taiwan. The Bank subsequently lodged an appeal against the Central Bank directive and further brought the claim challenging the Appeals Board.

The Bank is arguing that the Appeals Board lacks impartiality and independence since two members of the Board are political appointees named by the Prime Minister. The second argument is whether the Board itself can lawfully hear the appeal since its members were appointed after the ten day period allowed by the Banks and Financial Institutions Act.

Vincent Nelson and Andrew Marshalleck are appearing for the Belize Bank and Lois Young and Pricilla Banner for the Government of Belize. At news time the hearing was still underway.

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