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Wolfowitz tells panel he acted in good faith

Wolfowitz tells panel he acted in good faith

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz decried what he called a "smear campaign" against him and told a bank panel he had acted in good faith in securing a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend. He said had no plans to resign, and U.S. President George W. Bush gave him a fresh endorsement.
In a statement prepared for the panel, Wolfowitz said Monday that the institution's ethics committee had access to all the details surrounding the arrangement involving bank employee Shaha Riza, "if they wanted it."
Wolfowitz told the panel, "I acted transparently, sought and received guidance from the bank's ethics committee and conducted myself in good faith in accordance with that guidance."
The special bank panel is probing Wolfowitz' handling of the 2005 promotion and pay package of Riza, who has been moved to other duties at the State Department to avoid a conflict of interest.
Riza, who appeared before the panel late in the day, said she didn't want to move in the first place and wasn't satisfied with the arrangement.
"I continue to believe that I should not have been asked to leave and that I was unjustly treated for reasons that I had no control over and still do not understand," she said in a statement to the panel. She also defended her pay.
"I should not be singled out for isolated finger-pointing when my salary level is within the same range as staff in my grade level who were not forced to leave their jobs," Riza said. She said the "media circus" over the issue has done "significant harm to my career, my personal well-being and my prospects to continue the work I love."
The controversy has led to calls for the resignation of Wolfowitz, who was an architect of the Iraq war in his previous job at the Pentagon. The bank's 24-member board is expected to make a decision this week.
Wolfowitz contended that the controversy over the pay package was part of an effort to oust him from the office, which he has held for nearly two years. The institution's mission is to fight global poverty.
As to his future leadership, Wolfowitz said: "only when the cloud of these unfair and untrue charges is removed, will it truly be possible to determine objectively whether I can be an effective leader of the World Bank."
Bush said Wolfowitz's fate did not come up during a U.S.-European Union meeting at the White House. The European Parliament has called on Wolfowitz to resign. Bush tapped Wolfowitz for the job and the United States is the bank's largest shareholder.
As part of his defense, Wolfowitz, among other things, cited a February 28, 2006, letter that he characterized as showing that bank's ethics committee had looked at the arrangement.
The panel's chairman, Ad Melkert, said in the letter that an allegation relating to "a matter which had been previously considered by the committee did not contain new information warranting any further review."


Updated : 2021-05-18 14:06 GMT+08:00