Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wolfowitz accused of corruption

For Wolfowitz, Slings and Arrows
Krissah Williams, Washington Post
April 12, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz’s tenure as World Bank President which was contentious to begin with given his involvement with the U.S.-led Iraq war, has been lately marred by further controversies, which are raising questions about his ability to lead the Bank. It was recently brought to light that a woman whom Wolfowitz is romantically involved with, Shaha Riza, received unusually large pay raises. Additionally, he has been subjected to blistering criticism on an internal electronic board. World Bank staffers, posting anonymously accused Wolfowitz of being a hypocrite – at a time when he is focusing on eliminating corruption in the developing world, the way he manages the World Bank itself has been corrupt given the pay raises received by Riza. Finally, sensitive board minutes regarding China were recently leaked to the press.

Notably, Wolfowitz’s 5 year term continues until 2010, and none of the Bank’s executive directors have publicly withdrawn support. Thus, his job does not seem to be in immediate danger. He has responded to these criticisms by creating a special committee to evaluate the pay raises given to Riza. He also reiterated his priorities regarding the developing world – dealing with environmental problems, rooting out governmental corruption and fighting poverty. However, many believe that the recent controversies could adversely affect Wolfowitz’ ability to raise funds from developed countries.

1. Should Wolfowitz remain World Bank President? What qualities must a World Bank President have?
2.How should the World Bank best respond to the criticisms leveled against its President?

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