who will be next World Bank President What will they do


The Ad Hoc Committee: who they are and what they are thinking. Until now we have not clearly told you which government representatives make up the Ad Hoc Committee established by the World Bank board to look into the Wolfowitz allegations. The board members are the French, Dutch, Norwegians, Chinese, Russian, Mexican and Ethiopian. The New York Times has interesting insights on where they stand in their deliberations and on the Bank president's efforts to slow them down.

In the words of the Washington Post's Al Kamen: "several Wolfowitz detractors and precious few supporters". Norway's development minister, for example, told Reuters yesterday in Oslo that "there is no doubt confidence in World Bank leadership has been undermined," and Wolfowitz "will have a very hard job to repair this confidence."

As we told our readers very rapidly last Friday, the board ad hoc committee is now investigating several conflicts of interest and potential breaches of Bank rules - not just the Riza affair.

Wolfowitz has been making desperate public appeals, trying to undermine confidence in the committee's procedures. Steven R. Weisman in the New York Times, for example, provides extracts of a letter sent by Wolfowitz to the committee's chair. Wolfowitz has the gall to accuse the committee of acting "shabbily and unfairly" and asking to appear before them next week in the name of good governance at the Bank. The Times says many board members were "taken aback by the tough tone of the letter" but thinks the board might allow Mr. Wolfowitz to appear before them next week, though not necessarily with his newly hired lawyer, Robert S. Bennett.

As for the final conclusion of the board's deliberations? The Times quotes a senior European official who thinks there could be a deal avoiding a censure of Mr. Wolfowitz but that it had to involve Mr. Wolfowitz leaving the bank.

Cutting a deal to disappear from the Bank while trying to save face? Not what most people would consider good governance. In fact exactly what I would consider to be a shabby result, Mr Wolfowitz.

Obviously if any readers have connections to the above-mentioned Bank board members, or their governments back home, we would encourage you to contact them and encourage them to reach a clear and open verdict, and to get this over with quickly.

Alex Wilks ~ April 26, 2007

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