"Wolfowitz ousted for bad management"

22nd May 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 May 2007, AMSTERDAM (AP) - Paul Wolfowitz's shortcomings as an effective manager of the World Bank were the primary reason for his ouster, not the pay hike he approved for his girlfriend, said two Dutch politicians who helped engineer his resignation.

22 May 2007

AMSTERDAM (AP) - Paul Wolfowitz's shortcomings as an effective manager of the World Bank were the primary reason for his ouster, not the pay hike he approved for his girlfriend, said two Dutch politicians who helped engineer his resignation.

During his two years at the helm, Wolfowitz "had not developed any coherent strategy for the World Bank," said Herman Wijffels in an interview published Monday.

"I attempted to talk to him about it, but he wasn't interested," Wijffels told the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

Wijffels is the executive director who chaired the special panel that blasted Wolfowitz for mixing bank business with his personal relationship with bank employee Shaha Riza. His report was widely seen as making Wolfowitz's position untenable.

"If he had otherwise been a good leader, this may not have come so far," he said.

Development Minister Bert Koenders, who along with his German counterpart brought the Riza affair to the bank's attention, said the bank was in "crisis" under Wolfowitz's leadership.

Koenders said the Netherlands and other European countries had tacitly threatened to cut their funding to the bank if Wolfowitz remained.

"The name of the bank was on the line, and all European countries together make up the largest donor," he told the Nova television program at the weekend.

"This wasn't intended as blackmail, but to make it clear that we weren't just casually raising the matter," he said.

The U.S. is the largest funder of the World Bank, followed by Japan and then Germany, France and Britain. The Netherlands is one tier lower, but donates more than twice as much per capita as the larger countries.

Koenders said Germany agreed with the Netherlands that Wolfowitz was not functioning well. "England also played a large role," Koenders said.

Wijffels said the board statement saying Wolfowitz "acted ethically and in good faith" was a compromise to save face.

"It's always the case that a forced departure is dressed up with nice words, definitely if that departure is arranged in political circles," Wijffels told the paper.

Wolfowitz said Thursday he will resign in June.

Asked whether his determination to see Wolfowitz go may have harmed U.S.-Dutch relations, Wijffels told the paper "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to supervise the functioning of the World Bank."

Riza worked for the bank before Wolfowitz took over as president in June 2005. She moved to the State Department to avoid a conflict of interest but stayed on the bank's payroll with a 35 percent raise, subsequently rising even more. The panel concluded that the salary increase Riza received "at Mr. Wolfowitz's direction was in excess of the range" allowed under bank rules.

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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