News Brief – April 15, 2007
The survival of Paul Wolfowitz as President of the World Bank was in the balance last night after he faced an unprecedented and sharp rebuke from the world’s development ministers.
Despite the censure from ministers who were meeting in Washington — and a continuing inquiry into his conduct by the bank’s executive board — a defiant Mr Wolfowitz vowed to continue in his post.
Wolfowitz’s reprimand came after days of international haggling over his fate, and his admission that he had orchestrated a large pay rise and guaranteed promotion for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a World Bank official descended from a long line of Algerian Jews.
In a breif statement the ministers said that they “expect the bank to adhere to a high standard of corporate governance”. They continued: “We have to ensure that the Bank can carry out its mandate and maintain its credibility and reputation as well as the motivation of its staff. The current situation is of great concern to all of us. We endorse the board’s actions in looking into this matter and we asked it to complete its work.”
At a lunch among the ministers, Mr Wolfowitz was said to have “cut a lonely figure”. However, Mr Wolfowitz said: “This is important work and I intend to continue it. I believe in the mission of this organisation and I believe I can carry it out.”
He noted that he had “had many expressions of support” as well as criticism.
He refused to speculate on the board’s findings. “The board is looking at it,” he told reporters. Nonetheless he reaffirmed his intention not to resign because of the growing scandal.
Last updated 17/04/2007