World Bank anti-corruption team criticizes Wolfowitz over scandal


April 27, 2007|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Paul Wolfowitz's struggle to hold on to his job as World Bank president suffered a major setback yesterday when more than 40 members of the organization's anti-corruption team, formed to promote transparent government and closely identified with Wolfowitz, declared that the controversy over his conduct was undermining their work.

Without directly calling for his resignation or removal, the team said that Wolfowitz and the bank's board needed to take "clear and decisive actions to resolve this crisis," which it said was undermining the bank's "credibility and authority to engage" on the corruption issue.

"The credibility of our front-line staff is eroding in the face of legitimate questions from our clients about the bank's ability to practice what it preaches on governance," the statement said.

"In these circumstances, we cannot credibly implement the GAC strategy," it said, using the acronym for governance and anti-corruption.

The group's statement was seen as especially grave because Wolfowitz has made ending government corruption his signature issue as World Bank president since 2005.

Some of the statement's signers had sided with Wolfowitz over the past year against efforts by others to water down the anti-graft program.

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