World Bank gives Wolfowitz more time

10th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2007 (AFP) - The board of the World Bank has given an additional week to embattled bank president Paul Wolfowitz to defend himself against nepotism allegations, the bank said in a statement Wednesday.

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2007 (AFP) - The board of the World Bank has given an additional week to embattled bank president Paul Wolfowitz to defend himself against nepotism allegations, the bank said in a statement Wednesday.

"The Executive Directors met today to consider a request from the President for additional time to comment on the draft report of the ad hoc group, which was provided to him on May 6," the statement said.

"They have informed the President that they agree with the recommendation of the group to extend the period for his final comments on the group's draft report to the close of business on May 11. After considering the President's comments, the group will complete its report," it added.

Wolfowitz was informed he will be able to meet with the board May 15 "to communicate his views in person, if he wishes to do so. They will then consider all the information available and reach their decisions," the statement said.

Wolfowitz, 63, is battling strong calls from inside and outside the bank for his resignation after the revelation last month that he personally engineered a massive pay hike and guaranteed promotion for his companion, Shaha Riza, a World Bank employee, after he took the bank's top job in June 2005.

Bank rules prohibit managers from supervising employees with whom they have a close personal relationship.

A protest organized Wednesday outside the World Bank's headquarters brought together four demonstrators who chanted ""no more gifts for your honey, no more stealing the poor's money."

The Bush administration, which nominated Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war, to lead the multilateral institution, pressed for the bank's directors to give him more time to respond to the allegations of favoritism.

Treasury Secretary Paulson has also defended Wolfowitz, insisting he is "a dedicated public servant and deserves a fair process rather than a rush to judgment," said Brookly McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for Paulson.

France on Wednesday indicated it wanted the matter settled sooner rather than later.

"We would like the board to meet swiftly to issue its evaluation of the report, and for Mr. Wolfowitz to make any observations he wishes to make," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

"Our concern is to ensure the World Bank's proper functioning, in the context of its mission in favor of development and the fight against poverty," he added.

On Tuesday, Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos, heading into a meeting of European Union finance ministers, said that the investigatory panel's report was putting more pressure on Wolfowitz to resign.

And Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said the scandal was undermining the six-decade-old bank.

"It's impossible to go everywhere in the world to speak about good governance and not to have good governance in the World Bank," Reynders said.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French new

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