Friday, April 13, 2007

Anti-corruption Crusader accused of corruption

Then-US deputy war secretary Paul Wolfowitz was rewarded for his job as an architect of the Iraq Aggression (an incomprehensibly destructive role) by being named head of the World Bank (an organization whose job is to help countries develop). The sick irony was not lost on many observers. But not the only irony.

During his time as World Bank chief, Wolfowitz has made the drive against corruption the single most important focus of the bank.

Fair enough.

So what does it say that Wolfowitz himself is being accused of corruption. His girlfriend, a press officer in the Bank's Middle East bureau, was given a 35.5 percent raise shortly after Wolfowitz became the organization's chief. She was given a 7.5 percent raise last year.

"If World Bank staff rules had been respected, she was not to receive percentage increases greater than 12% and 3,7%, respectively. Her current salary of $193 590 is about $7 000 more than what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earns," according to the watchdog Government Accountability Project.

Wolfowitz's office originally said the raise was ok'd by the Bank's ethics committee. But members of the committee said they knew nothing of the apparent nepotism.

"Wolfowitz is much, much more concerned about who leaked the information than about how to rectify the situation. He's just furious," said a source inside the Bank.

All this demonstrates that a man can leave the Bush administration, but the Bush administration never leaves the man.

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