who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Media verdict clear: but what will the court say? The World Bank staffer who acted as whistleblower in January 2006 on the Riza payrises must feel sad but smug. He/she certainly pointed to an important issue that needed to be aired. And warned that if the Bank did not deal with this properly its president would face "trial by media". Very accurate, and this post summarises and links to some good recent pieces. In case you don't think me a totally impartial foreman of the media jury, I quote The Economist: "the verdict from most quarters is in; only the sentence is still uncertain".

The Bank staff whistleblower, who used the name John Smith, must feel bitter that the Bank's ethics committee was so cursory in its examination of the case last year. The Economist picks up on the angle that "the bank’s executive directors may show leniency, if only because they themselves have egg on their face. Their ethics committee should never have given Mr Wolfowitz the latitude he went on to abuse". Let's hope that the opposite psychology prevails and the board takes their second opportunity to fix this situation.

As for the media jury, here are my picks:
A New York Times editorial says "there is no way Mr. Wolfowitz can recover his credibility and continue to be effective at the bank".

The Daily Mail's headline is clear. "Dislikeable Wolfowitz must go, and go now". It continues: "never before has a Bank president lost the confidence of his staff so much that they dared to openly bay for his resignation".

The LA Times concludes: Wolfowitz should walk A World Bank president who grants favors to his girlfriend can't convincingly chide other leaders for corruption.

The Huffington Post makes a similar point. In short: "Already in a complicated position at the Bank, because of what he calls 'my previous job' -- he has guaranteed that no subsequent speech on his central topic, the evil of self-dealing, will ever be taken seriously by anyone he hopes to convince".

The Australian says. "As feared, he has used the bank to advance the Bush administration's policies. The World Bank is no place for an Iraq war architect".

The Brunei Times regrets that "With the focus on Wolfowitz, his girlfriend and her pay rise, yet another gathering of the most powerful decision-makers in the global economy passed without agreement on what the World Bank and the IMF are really for".

The Village Voice: "World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz spent the weekend desperately trying to keep his job, but e-mails flying around the bank's internal bulletin board show that he'll never quell the internal revolt". [Contains further lengthy extracts of WB staff views.]

Staff themselves have their say on Wolfowitzmustresign. A good headline: "Sweetheart deals not limited to sweethearts".

The Guardian newsblog argues that pressure continues to mount on Paul Wolfowitz, the president of the World Bank appointed by George Bush, over his role in approving pay increases and promotions for his girlfriend Shaha Riza, a bank employee.

Alex Wilks ~ April 16, 2007

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