World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is leaving the international organization in the wake of wide-ranging scandals following the release of multiple internal Bank documents by the Government Accountability Project (GAP). This debacle shows the need for a whistleblower protection policy at the Bank. Climate Science Watch is a program of GAP. On April 26 we posted a news report on a Wolfowitz deputy’s efforts to undercut climate change text in a World Bank strategy paper. See Details for the full text of GAP’s press release.
Government Accountability Project
1612 K Street, NW Suite #1100 • Washington, D.C. 20006
202.408.0034 • http://www.whistleblower.org
May 17, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bea Edwards, International Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 155, 202.841.1391
Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 137, 202.236.3733 (cell)
Multiple GAP Documents Lead to Bank President’s Resignation; New Whistleblower Policy Crucial Next Step
(Washington, D.C.) – World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is leaving the international organization in the wake of wide-ranging scandals based on multiple releases of documents over the last two months by the Government Accountability Project (GAP).
GAP has released evidence or exposed information showing: that Wolfowitz’s companion, Shaha Riza, received salary raises far in excess of those allowable under Bank rules; that Riza received a questionable consulting position with a U.S. defense contractor in 2003 at his direction that has resulted in State and Defense Department inquiries; that Juan José Daboub, Bank Managing Director and Wolfowitz-hire, attempted to remove references and funding for “family planning” in Bank projects; that Wolfowitz’ office was responsible for weakening a “climate change” strategy document; that Bank Senior Management delayed reporting to Bank staff that a fellow staffer had been seriously wounded in a shooting in Iraq; that World Bank lending to Africa during Fiscal Year of 2007 has plummeted; and that Wolfowitz was trying to broaden the Bank’s portfolio in Iraq over Board opposition.
Commenting on the protracted Wolfowitz fiasco, GAP International Director Bea Edwards said that the Bank needs basic internal governance reforms to ensure that situations like this never occur again: “The Bank must establish whistleblower protections to address internal corruption effectively and expediently. An internal justice system must be established.”
For the past six months, World Bank staffers have been sending GAP incriminating documents anonymously, instead of taking allegations of corruption to internal authorities. Because the Bank has no reliable means of protecting whistleblowers from retaliation, staffers who witness ongoing malfeasance could do little internally without risking their jobs and careers.
The Bank hearings convened to resolve the Wolfowitz affair showed urgent need for a whistleblower protection policy. The Vice President for Human Resources, Xavier Cole, explained his position in the negotiations that resulted in improper raises for the Bank president’s companion: “I’ve been asked to do something that is outside the rules. I feel very uncomfortable about it. What is my protection, the protection of HR [Human Resources], and the institution regarding this, because it is important?”
The Vice President was not protected and could not report Wolfowitz’ misconduct to anyone safely. If he had been able to, it is possible that Wolfowitz’ and Riza’s efforts to maximize their benefits at the expense of the Bank and in violation of its rules would have been thwarted.
Added GAP Communications Director Dylan Blaylock: “There was no way Wolfowitz could have continued on as World Bank President. He and his associates have been caught repeatedly misleading Bank staff and the media. His credibility was shot.”
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA.