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World Bank chief admits 'mistake', faces calls to quit job

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz acknowledges his 'mistake' in helping his girlfriend get a hefty pay hike, but the bank's staff association wants him to resign.

business Updated: Apr 13, 2007 15:42 IST
Sridhar Krishnaswami
Sridhar Krishnaswami

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has apologised for his 'mistake' in helping his girlfriend get a hefty pay hike but the bank's staff association wants him to resign, saying he had 'compromised' the integrity of the group.

Shaha Riza was a World Bank employee in the communications division of the Middle East Department when Wolfowitz was nominated by President George W Bush to lead the institution. Wolfowitz moved Riza to an assignment at the State Department, though the World Bank continued to pay her. She received a raise of close to $61,000.

The controversy surrounding the Bank chief, has already overshadowed this weekend's Spring Meetings of The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

For its part, the Bush administration is standing strongly by Wolfowitz and not surprisingly given that he was one of the chief architects of the Iraq war, saying that he has 'impeccable credentials'.

But the Staff Association for The World Bank and private groups are against Wolfowitz continuing to hold the bank's top post. "The president must acknowledge that his conduct has compromised the integrity and effectiveness of the World Bank Group and has destroyed the staff's trust in his leadership," the association said.

Wolfowitz on Thursday told reporters he was responsible for the all the details of the arrangement, and that he would abide by the decision of The Bank's Executive Board.

First Published: Apr 13, 2007 10:57 IST

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