who will be next World Bank President What will they do


Riza job mystery deepens. (Updated) More devastating analysis from the Government Accountability Project. They have closely examined the 102 pages of documents submitted to the Bank's board. Their conclusion: "although the Ethics Committee of the Board directed Wolfowitz to detail Riza to a post outside the Bank and beyond his supervision, in fact, he apparently never actually did this".

Nor could she have been so seconded.

"State Department sources have informed GAP that a secondment refers to a U.S. Government (USG) – International Organization arrangement (U.N., Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). A secondment is usually paid by the sending host government. It constitutes, in effect, a budget contribution from the sending government.

This is why Riza could not be seconded – her work would be a budget contribution from an international organization to the Department of State. The USG can second someone to the World Bank and the cost of doing so is attributed to the USG contribution to the Bank. However, U.S. appropriations law does not permit an international organization like the World Bank to make an operating contribution to the budget of the Department of State.

This arrangement was highly improper for both the World Bank and the State Department. At State, USG policy work was given to an international organization employee, and the international organization paid for that activity in the form of its employee’s salary. At the World Bank, rules prohibit Bank staff from working on the political affairs of shareholder governments.

Matters became more complicated when the State Department issued Riza a building pass for unescorted access, without a State Department security clearance. Sources at State say that this is highly irregular and improper.

GAP’s sources state there are no Human Resources records for Shaha Riza at the State Department".

Our readers know that the Riza pay affair - while getting most of the media attention - is only one of a growing list of allegations against Wolfowitz and his senior appointees. But it does seem that even on this one issue hot-shot lawyer Richard Bennett has a hell of a lot of work to do to clear his client.

Andy Martin, writing on Contrariancommentary.com points out what he calls an elephant in the room regarding Riza's Mid-East assignment. He draws parallels with the Bush administration outing of CIA agents He definitely has it in for Paul Wolfowitz, arguing the following:
"Bushies were outraged that Valerie Plame had apparently recommended her husband for an assignment in Niger. Plame’s unpardonable sin: sponsoring her husband, Joe Wilson for a mission to Niger that cast doubt on Iraq’s efforts to purchase “yellowcake” uranium. The Bushies thought Plame’s favoritism was the height of arrogance and corruption, and worthy of public flogging, CIA secrecy or no. And so L’Affaire Plame exploded on Washington, and damaged or destroyed many careers. How can Wolfowitz argue with a straight face that what he did with Riza is acceptable behavior when the Bush Administration has never stopped condemning Plame for what she did with Wilson?"

He emphasises that it is a "pathetic situation" when an institution's president has to hire a lawyer to help him talk to its board. And that Robert Bennett "has represented people-in-trouble in Washington, DC, and he is good at cutting 'deals.' Emphasis on deals".

These deals are what we are watching carefully and ready to denounce if, as expected, they let guilty parties off the hook.

For some audio coverage of the Wolfowitz World Bank issue, check out National Public Radio's piece today.

Alex Wilks ~ April 27, 2007

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