March 06, 2006

Wolfie's World Bank: Makeover Or Takeover?
"The fight against global poverty is essentially a moral cause; if we lose the moral high ground, by disregarding transparency, competence, and integrity in our own institution, nothing else is left."
- un-named World Bank veteran.
For a guy who once commandeered such a high media profile, not much has been written about arch-neocon Paul Wolfowitz since he took over the helm of the World Bank. So what's going on? Mohamed Hakki, a former World Bank employee, says cronyism is on the rise and there is an exodus of top talent.
The senior ethics officer of the bank has departed. Also on the exit roster are the vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, the chief legal counsel, the vice president for environmentally and socially sustainable development, the bank's top managing director, the director of institutional integrity (who monitors internal and external corruption), and the head of the information solutions group.
Wolfie's new cabal includes:

- Kevin Kellems, former communications director and spokesman for Vice President Cheney, imposed by a Wolfowitz presidential fiat.

- Suzanne Rich Folsom, married to a powerful Republican leader and a powerful Republican lobbyist in her own right, now "corruption czar" and "Counsellor to the President".

- Karl Jackson, an old friend of Wolfowitz and colleague from Johns Hopkins University.

- Robin Cleveland, who "left the Bush administration under a cloud after it emerged that she attempted to use her connections to get a relative a job at a large defence corporation while she was negotiating a contract on behalf of the US government with them". She is "effectively is now running the Bank."

Most staff say they no longer understand the direction in which World Bank Group senior management is leading the institution.
Meanwhile, the board of executive directors, which represents the 184 member countries of the World Bank, remains scandalously silent.

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