www.wolfowitzresign.com May 21, 2007

"Mission (Actually) Accomplished!" We are retiring. Good luck with the search for a successor.

Friday, April 27, 2007

News Round Up, May 4, 2007

The New York Times Wolfowitz Rebuts Critics Over Tempest at World Bank
The Financial Times Wolfowitz in last-ditch change of tack
Foreign Policy Top Secret! [Mock] Memo From Paul Wolfowitz to Bank Staff By Ken Rogoff
The Washington Post Wolfowitz Blames the Bank
The Wall Street Journal Leader Cites Ambiguity (see comments for full story)
The Wall Street Journal, Gagging Shaha Riza (see comments for full story)

4 comments:

wolfowitzmustresign said...

The Wall Street Journal

Leading the News Wolfowitz Blames Bank for Woes --- Leader Cites Ambiguity As Special Panel Sets Stage For Debate, Board Action

By Greg Hitt
4 May 2007

WASHINGTON -- World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz intensified his defense against allegations of misconduct amid indications that a bank panel is preparing to find that he violated the international lender's ethics rules in securing a compensation package for his girlfriend.

In a strongly worded statement released yesterday, Mr. Wolfowitz contended that his troubles result from "ambiguous" guidelines governing conflicts of interest, and he blasted critics fueling the official probe against him, saying "I am deeply troubled and dismayed."

The statement underscored Mr. Wolfowitz's determination to fight for his job, and suggested the prospects are dimming for any sort of compromise that would avoid a confrontation with the bank's 24-member board and allow him a face-saving way to step down.

Only a few days ago, the board was exploring ways to settle the matter with a minimum of conflict. But now members of a special investigative panel created by the board appear to be coalescing around a report that will contend Mr. Wolfowitz skirted bank rules when he dictated the terms of a pay-and-promotion package for Shaha Riza, a longtime bank employee, bank officials said.

Bank officials said Mr. Wolfowitz will be given a chance to review the panel's findings, perhaps as soon as today, before the conclusions are forwarded to the bank's full 24-member board. That would set the stage for a debate next week within the board about what action to take to bring the matter to a close.

The controversy has highlighted deep divisions within the 185-nation institution over Mr. Wolfowitz's management style and priorities, especially a high-profile campaign to curb corruption among borrowers. Mr. Wolfowitz has rebuffed repeated calls to resign from current and former employees and executives of the bank.

So far the U.S. and a handful of allies, including Japan and Canada, have stood by Mr. Wolfowitz, who as deputy secretary of defense was an architect of the American-led war against Iraq. Leading the charge against him are several European nations, including Germany, France, and Britain. They contend the bank's credibility is at risk.

Amid divisions, it's not clear Mr. Wolfowitz's critics have enough votes on the board to fire him outright. But that option hasn't been ruled out, bank officials said. Nor have lesser penalties such as censure, as sentiment runs high to take action that demonstrates an institutional commitment to good governance.

At issue is whether Mr. Wolfowitz misused his position, after taking office two years ago, to secure a pay-and-promotion package for his girlfriend. To avoid any conflict of interest, Mr. Wolfowitz initially proposed to recuse himself from personnel matters regarding Ms. Riza. That proposal was rejected by the board's Ethics Committee, in favor of an arrangement under which Ms. Riza was detailed to work at the State Department. In the give-and-take over the transfer, Mr. Wolfowitz dictated the terms of her employment.

In appearances this week before the bank's investigative panel, two top former bank officials -- Roberto Danino, who was general counsel, and Ad Melkert, who was ethics chief for the board -- voiced strong concern with Mr. Wolfowitz's actions.

Mr. Danino said Mr. Wolfowitz "made serious, substantive errors." Mr. Melkert said the board's ethics committee never approved terms of Ms. Riza's deal. Mr. Melkert suggested Mr. Wolfowitz, as the bank's chief executive, had a responsibility to set in motion Mr. Riza's transfer, but should have left details to others.

In his submission yesterday to the special panel, Mr. Wolfowitz offered a different account, saying he was never told by the Ethics Committee to delegate. "That was not what I was told at the time," Mr. Wolfowitz said. "The word that was repeated used was 'instruct,' not 'delegate'." Mr. Wolfowitz said the Ethics Committee urged him to take "responsibility" for Ms. Riza's transfer.

"I vehemently deny that I went beyond what I understood to be the guidance received from the committee," Mr. Wolfowitz said. He urged the bank board not to attempt to rule on the "conflicting interpretations" of what happened, suggesting instead that the board "recognize that this situation is the product of ambiguous bank rules and unclear governance mechanisms."

The Wall Street Journal
Editorial
Gagging Shaha Riza
4 May 2007

Since the misnamed "Wolfowitz scandal" broke last month, enemies of the World Bank president have engaged in selective press leaks and calculated smears intended to oust him. Most of these leaks have come from within the bank itself, not that we've seen any effort by the institution to stop them.

Meanwhile, the bank bureaucracy has systematically sought to prevent Mr. Wolfowitz and his girlfriend Shaha Riza from telling their side of the story. Exhibit A is the bank's refusal to allow Ms. Riza -- whose raise and promotion are the central issue -- to defend herself even in a newspaper op-ed.

That was the order she received this week from one W. Paatii Ofosu-Amaah, a longtime bank bureaucrat from Ghana who serves as its vice president and corporate secretary. Both Ms. Riza and her lawyer declined to comment and were not our sources, but others who've seen the letter tell us that Mr. Ofosu-Amaah cited the bank's disclosure policies regarding board proceedings to forbid Ms. Riza from taking her case to the public.

That's more than odd, given that Ms. Riza currently works at a State Department affiliate; her salary continues to be paid by the bank as part of an agreement to avoid a "conflict of interest" claimed by the bank's own ethics committee. Bank sources also tell us that Mr. Ofosu-Amaah was among those who opposed letting Mr. Wolfowitz and Ms. Riza testify on Monday to the "ad hoc committee" investigating the case. One source adds that, "like several other vice presidents, Paatii took the position that a verdict could be reached through the documentary evidence alone."

Maybe that explains why this kangaroo court was prepared last week to reach a guilty verdict against Mr. Wolfowitz before either he or Ms. Riza had been given a chance to appear, according to "three senior bank officials" cited on Saturday by the Washington Post. Mr. Ofosu-Amaah's office didn't return our calls, naturally.

Anonymous said...

Instead of defending his Bilderberg friend Wolfie, may be the WSJ Op Ed writer should read the article in Newsweek. The gifted for the Gab lawyer has spilled the truth about Riza who does not scared to be gagged. It is surprising that FT is willing to let the truth comes out whilst the WSJ is so scared of the WHouse

Anonymous said...

Gaggling Riza

Isn't that done by PW, or is it really true that he is pee-wee small and not capable of gaging Riza?

If Riza really want her view 'published', all that needs to happen is for her to email the bank staff her piece (not body parts), and before you know it, it will be 'leaked' to many venues.

At this time, she still remains a Bank employee, and like it or not, she has to get publications cleared.

Having said that, she can always resign and publish whatever she likes.

Get off your hobby horse, Greg Hitt and the editorial board of WSJ.

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