Monday, April 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Wolfowitz to face Bank directors

Embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is to fight for his job in front of a panel of bank directors.

Mr Wolfowitz will defend himself against accusations that he pushed through a huge pay package for his girlfriend without the Bank’s consent.

The committee will then report to the Bank’s 24 representatives, who will decide on the president’s fate.

Mr Wolfowitz has apologised for his actions, vowing to stay on to complete what he called “important work”.

Quite frankly, there are times when it is time to throw in the towel. When one comes into a job such as this one with the goal of reducing corruption as one’s main theme and gets caught up in scandal over one’s girlfriend’s pay, then it is time to step down.

It isn’t as if, to date, his tenure as President of the Bank has been remarkable—indeed, as best as I can tell it has been thoroughly undistinguished.

And when you have to hire a high-powered attorney in the process of saving your job, it probably is a signal that you are in a lot of trouble:

Mr Wolfowitz will appear at Monday’s meeting flanked by Washington lawyer Robert Bennett, who is famous for helping former president Bill Clinton settle sexual harassment charges in 1998.

Mr Bennett will not be allowed to speak on his behalf, but has made it clear that Mr Wolfowitz will argue the decision to relocate his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, to the US State Department in 2024 was signed off by the board’s ethics committee.

He will also state that Ms Riza’s salary increase to almost $200,000 (£100,000) “was well within the parameters” of the World Bank’s salary and benefits structure.

“We want to make a presentation to them to show that this conflict-of-interest allegation is absolutely false,” Mr Bennett said.

My guess is that Wolfowitz is toast.

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3 Responses to “Wolfowitz Faces the Board”

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    1. Ratoe Says:

      It isn’t as if, to date, his tenure as President of the Bank has been remarkable—indeed, as best as I can tell it has been thoroughly undistinguished.

      Of course, Wolfowitz was a REALLY POOR choice to begin with. Given the fact that he isn’t an economist and his only foray into “development” issues was by overseeing the destruction of a country without considering the need for reconstruction, it is not suprising that he has been held to close scrutiny.

      Of course, that Bank’s problems are much larger than Wolfie. Governance issues are a serious concern. If Wolfie is forced out by this, it will be interesting to see if the Europeans & Japan try to assert their influence.

    2. Steven Plunk Says:

      I believe Wolfowitz was a fine choice. His accolades from the African countries are reinforcing the notion he can reform the body and get rid of corruption. Unfortunately it is the entrenched corrupt officials that are now trying to oust him on false pretenses.

      It is not fair to judge based upon his hiring of a high powered attorney. When you can afford the best that’s what you get. It also makes sense to have representation since the other side will have lawyers as well.

      The Wall Street Journal and others have pointed out this is likely Wolfowitz being railroaded for shaking things up.

    3. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

      I am not basing my judgment on the hiring of an attorney–just saying that it isn’t a good sign.

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