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Monday, January 23, 2006

"Bitter Conflict" at the World Bank

It's hard to argue with the goal of reducing corruption, but this hardly seems like the best way to go about it. It's so surprising to hear that Paul Wolfowitz is creating controversy as president of the World Bank:

Wolfowitz triggers graft storm at World Bank, by Andrew Balls and Edward Alden, Financial Times:  Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, has triggered a bitter conflict with the bank’s senior career staff by empowering a group of close political advisers to pursue aggressively what he sees as widespread corruption surrounding bank projects. The dispute has come to a head with the appointment ... of Suzanne Rich Folsom, a counsellor to Mr Wolfowitz with close ties to the Republican party, as the new director of the Department of Institutional Integrity, the internal bank watchdog that investigates suspected fraud and staff misconduct.

Her appointment has raised objections that a person close to Mr Wolfowitz, and with a political background, has been put into a senior position at a unit that was seen as independent of the president’s office since it was set up in 2001. Robert Hindle, previously the senior manager of the unit and a long-time World Bank employee, resigned ... largely as a result of ... concern at the targeting of employees who had worked on projects that developed corruption problems... A number of senior bank staff and executive directors representing member countries ... complain of a lack of consultation by Mr Wolfowitz’s advisers, and an atmosphere of suspicion. Roberto Dañino, the bank’s general counsel and a former prime minister of Peru, this month also announced his resignation because, friends said, he was unhappy at the way the bank was being run by Mr Wolfowitz... Mr Wolfowitz’s appointment last year was greeted with apprehension by some long-time staff. Many Republicans believe the bank is plagued by corruption. Ms Rich Folsom was hired ... with the task of improving the bank’s relations with Congressional Republicans.

Brad DeLong has more.

    Posted by on Monday, January 23, 2006 at 01:08 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (7)

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