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Report says Wolfowitz to stay in job

Report says Wolfowitz to stay in job

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz won't resign, his lawyer said after a newspaper reported that the panel investigating Wolfowitz's decision to promote his companion had already concluded he breached ethics rules.
"If it's true, it's outrageous," the attorney, Robert Bennett, said in an interview yesterday in Washington. "He's not going to resign in the face of this totally bogus conflict-of- interest allegation."
Bennett cited an article in the Washington Post saying the panel had reached a conclusion as evidence Wolfowitz is unlikely to get a fair hearing when he appears on April 30. The panel of seven directors, which is to report to the full 24-member board, was already debating whether to recommend Wolfowitz resign, the article said.
"This is just trying to escalate pressure on him," Bennett said. "They will come up with bad things on him, and they want him to resign - which he won't."
None of the panel members returned calls seeking comment yesterday.
Wolfowitz's decision to promote and award an unusually large raise to his companion, Shaha Riza, sparked demands for his resignation from the group that represents the anti-poverty agency's 13,000 employees as well as some European governments.
Riza, 52, was assigned to the State Department in September 2005 under rules forbidding one partner from reporting to another. She remained on the World Bank payroll and was given a 36 percent pay raise that was twice as large as bank rules allowed, according to the Staff Association, which represents employees.
Wolfowitz, 63, initially offered to recuse himself from dealings with Riza, a request that was rejected by the board's ethics committee, Bennett said. His subsequent decision to promote Riza and reassign her was made with the approval of the committee, Bennett said.
Wolfowitz apologized for the decision during the spring meeting of the agency's 185 member-nations two weeks ago and said the decision was a good-faith effort to carry out the instructions of the bank's board.
Wolfowitz has been criticized by governments including Germany, France and the U.K., while the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, who appointed him, has maintained its support.


Updated : 2021-08-05 18:59 GMT+08:00