Friday, April 13, 2007

Wolf at the door

What a fall, my countrymen! World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, doughty crusader against corruption at the Bank, has been caught on the wrong foot himself. Wolfowitz is accused of having favoured a lady colleague with whom he has been romantically linked. FT reports:

Paul Wolfowitz was under pressure to resign as president of the World Bank on Thursday after admitting he was personally involved in securing a large pay rise and promotion for a Bank official with whom he was romantically involved.
The Bank president issued a public apology, saying: “I made a mistake for which I am sorry”.

The apology came after the Financial Times revealed that Mr Wolfowitz ordered the World Bank’s head of human resources to offer Shaha Riza the pay rise and promotion as part of a secondment package.
The instructions were set out in a memorandum dated August 11 2005 to two sources who have seen the document.

...In the August 11 2005 memorandum, two sources told the Financial Times, Mr Wolfowitz directed Xavier Coll, the Bank’s vice-president for human resources, to offer Ms Riza specific terms as part of a secondment package to the US State department.

These included a promotion, a pay rise above that normally associated with the promotion, and arrangements to ensure Ms Riza received exceptional annual pay increases. Only the promotion had been recommended by the board’s ethics committee, two sources told the FT.

A former hawk at the Pentagon, Wolfowitz rubbed the members of the World Bank board the wrong way with his focus on fighting corruption in countries to which the Bank made loans. He angered his colleagues at the Bank with his ham-handed attempts at fighting corruption within the Bank. As happens so often, the system got back at somebody who was rocking the boat a wee too much. As the FT notes, even if Wolfowitz survives the present crisis, he can only carry on with his moral authority greatly diminished.

1 comment:

Krishnan said...

I have been following the Wolfowitz saga through the pages of the Wall Street Journal - and another story emerges.

It appears that there was a deliberate effort at making Wolfowitz look bad and the Board seem to have succeeded.

1) He told the board there is a problem with him dealing with his girlfriend.
2) He was told, no, no problem.
3) He demurred, they said no, go ahead. He did. They told him he did a terrible thing.

Wolfowitz is in reality paying for his sins related to the Iraq War. They seem to have succeeded.

Yes, there IS corruption/nepotism at the World Bank - long before Wolfowitz got there. People started becoming uncomfortable and figured out a way to get rid of him, it worked.