who will be next World Bank President What will they do
 
 

     
 

Papered over? Sharp pencils within the Bank are posing more and more pointed questions about key documents in the Rizagate investigation.

The Board is not alone in reviewing the 102 pages the first ad hoc committee released last week. Sharp-eyed staff are doing their own detective work. We are posting some analysis which is likely to help busy Board members.

There's the September 16, 2005 letter from the State [US State Department] informing [senior human resources officer] Xavier Coll about Shaha's duties at State, which arrived at the Bank, as a fax, on October 14 (page 82 of the package). Mail must be slow, but not so slow that Xavier's reply to something that was faxed October 14 (at 4:40 am, it appears) is dated September 19. Maybe the first letter got lost. But Shaha's departure happened before that. Normally HR insists on knowing what people we send out of the Bank are doing before we agree to send them out and pay for them.

People are puzzled that someone with a G-4 visa could accept any outside employment, paid or not, but presumably Shaha's lawyer can discuss that with Homeland Security or whoever looks for people who are working illegally in the United States. Journalists who are hunting down the "SAIC, I direct you to hire my girlfriend" lead are looking into that. The shamelessness of DOD ethics staff in all this becomes apparent when they tell journalists to use a FOIA request to get their opinion that Paul Wolfowitz did not break any ethics rules when he recommended his girlfriend for a job.

The Board's document hunt may also include the paperwork (twice, we're told) that led to her being denied promotion to level H (twice), as well as the real short list for the communications officer job in MNA [the Middle East North Africa region]. People on that committee say they did not clear her for the list (contrary to what the Board was told would provide cover for some of what she wanted, the first promotion), which is why her career history says "Principal Communications Officer" (a position uniquely hers) before she was shipped off to State.

Now, for those of you who were wondering about why she'd just come back as a level GI Director, after an agreement by her outside supervisor and two Bank staff "acceptable to her", please be assured there's some process. (Those supervisors, so far, are Liz Cheney, we know who she is, and Anwar Ibrahim, friend of her boyfriend in pursuing democracy in Malaysia, and who PW recently tried to get on the panel that reviews the salaries of Bank and Fund EDs, which of course would be another story, instead of the NGO woman from another Asian country who was the first choice.) We may be led by people who aren't good on process, but, please, the Bank has HR processes, which virtually every other manager and anyone who's tried to be promoted knows by heart. It's not just two of the three of them agreeing. No, it's supposed to be based on their review of her performance evaluations while she was outside. No one's yet produced an evaluation from State, but presumably the Board will want that--she's been out for two years now, so there should be two to put in the file for that day when she crosses 19th Street back to her big corner office serving a democratized Middle East. Since there are no other staff at Foundation for the Future, that piece of any future record appears to be problematic, unless one takes a results-based approach to judging her performance, based on how many democracies are established in the Middle East between late last year (when Robin Cleveland agreed to the transfer) to when she returns, welcomed by chocolates and flowers.

Some have wondered about the dates and format of some of the documents, and there's something wrong with Robin Cleveland's 09/09/2005 "why I picked the lawfirm" draft email. There was an animated discussion in the cafeteria yesterday by some blue-ribboned IT staff: Can't put my finger on it just now, but presumably someone on the ad hoc committee's doing forensics on all the documents and their timelines. For that item (page 77 if you're checking), someone needs to ask Robin why she never pushed the "send and file in IRIS" button on something so crucial that surfaces, 18 months later, on paper only. Normally you'd need to send that as an email to Corporate Procurement to justify a contract, and to show proudly how you'd considered three firms and selected the one with Justice Scalia's brother working on the case. Of course, since you've cut the General Counsel out of the loop on the whole matter since he has a conflict of interest, maybe this was just another example of being given bad advice and not trusting your instinct.

Jeff Powell ~ April 22, 2007


 
 
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