Saturday, April 28, 2007

Wolfowitz panel finds Ethics Breach

Press TV
Sat, 28 Apr 2007 12:24:58

It has emerged that the World Bank Committee has nearly completed a report stating that Paul Wolfowitz breached its banking ethics.

Three senior bank officials said the committee are still debating on whether to explicitly recommend that Mr. Wolfowitz resign.

Wolfowitz is scheduled to appear before the committee with his attorney on Monday morning and mount his defense against demands that he should resign over engineering a pay rise for his girlfriend.

The bank's 24-member board of directors will convene that afternoon to discuss the report and sources suggest that they could announce their vote the same day, The Washington Post reported.

Wolfowitz's attorney said he has vowed to continue the fight to keep his job. "He will not resign under this cloud," he said.

The committee is composed of members of the bank's governing board. Bank officials say the timing of the report and its conclusions have come at a time when they can have maximum impact in what has become a full-blown campaign to get Wolfowitz to go.

The White House remains supportive of Wolfowitz, even though Bush's staff has staged an open revolt aimed at persuading him to leave. European officials have repeatedly lobbied for his resignation.

Already unpopular because of his direct role as architect of the Iraq war, his management style had antagonized bank staff and European financial contributors long before the ethics scandal.

A draft of the report reviewed by the committee late Friday declared Wolfowitz had violated World Bank regulations in three areas, breach of contract, breach of ethics rules and undermining the reputation of the bank.

While this report deals only with the way he handled Ms Riza's pay rise, the committee is prepared to investigate a range of other alleged breaches of ethics and internal governance rules.

A bank board is already investigating his hiring of former White House aides, also on generous pay deals, to work in his close circle of advisors after he took over the World Bank in June 2005.

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