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Wolfowitz faces World Bank panel over promotion

Paul Wolfowitz will defend his handling of a promotion and pay increase for his girlfriend to a special panel, which will ultimately decide his stay as head of the development institution.

business Updated: Apr 30, 2007 14:52 IST

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz will defend his handling of a promotion and pay increase for his girlfriend on Monday to a special panel, whose investigation will ultimately determine if he wins his fight to stay on as head of the development institution.

Wolfowitz and his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, will make a full presentation to the panel, made up of representatives of the bank's board of member countries, at separate appearances where they will outline events that eventually saw Riza promoted with a salary increase, and moved to an outside job at the State Department.

The former No 2 Pentagon official and one of the main planners of the Iraq war, Wolfowitz has already apologized for the way he handled the promotion that has prompted calls by staff and some member countries for him to step down to save the credibility of the poverty-fighting institution.

Last week, Wolfowitz complained he was being treated "shabbily and unfairly without regard to appropriate process" when the panel turned down a request by his lawyer, Robert Bennett, to represent his client's case.

A gender specialist and former senior communications office in the bank's Middle East Department, Riza said in a letter to the board earlier this month she has been "victimized" by the uproar over her promotion and a related transfer to the State Department, which she said was forced to take because of her relationship with Wolfowitz.

Sources close to the decision-making process and spoke on condition of anonymity told Reuters the panel would focus on whether Wolfowitz worsened potential conflict of interest issues when he "pressured" a bank vice president into giving Riza the promotion and pay raise.


Another board source said the issue would likely not be put to a vote of the bank's 24-nation board. Instead, the source said the board would try to build a consensus on how to proceed.

First Published: Apr 30, 2007 14:40 IST