UK Caritas calls on World Bank chief to resign

The British Caritas development agency, CAFOD, has called for the resignation of embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz saying that he has lost his credibility in the fight against corruption.

George Gelber, head of policy for the English and Welsh bishops' Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, said the bank should force Wolfowitz to resign amid allegations of corruption, Catholic News reports.

"Paul Wolfowitz has made corruption an essential part of his personal policy platform, not only in the bank but also among all major donors," Gelber said in a statement on Monday.

"But now his actions have so damaged his own credibility as an anti-corruption campaigner that his position at the bank is untenable and he should resign," Gelber said. "If he will not resign, then the bank board must ask him to leave."

Wolfowitz has come under pressure to quit his position after he secured a promotion and a substantial pay raise for Shaha Riza, 52, his British-Arab feminist girlfriend.

Wolfowitz told investigators that he transferred Riza to avoid a conflict of interest, but her pay was boosted by more than $60,000 (to over $230,000), so that she made more than US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Wolfowitz acknowledged on 12 April that he had made a mistake and apologised.

Gelber said Wolfowitz's previous claims to be tough on corruption now looked "distinctly threadbare."

He said the case also raised wider questions about the appointment of the World Bank president and the managing director of its sister agency, the International Monetary Fund.

"It is the view of CAFOD that these appointments need to be brought into the 21st century," said Gelber. "The president of the World Bank should be an appointment based on merit and not a grace and favor appointment of the US president.

The World Bank's board of directors is expected to meet in late April to discuss the situation.

Wolfowitz, 62, took over at the World Bank in June 2005 after leaving his position as deputy secretary of defence at the Pentagon, where he was a major driving force behind the war on Iraq.

British Catholic aid agency calls for World Bank president to resign (Catholic Online, 17/4/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Bank
Paul Wolfowitz (Wikipedia)
Shaha Ali Riza (Wikipedia)
Profile - Paul Wolfowitz: Hawk with a lot of loot needs a bit of lady luck (Times, 2005)

Opus Dei link alleged over World Bank contraception policy deletion (CathNews, 17/4/07)
Bertone slams IMF and World Bank "usury" (CathNews, 10/8/06)
Wolfensohn to speak at Vatican Conference (CathNews, 19/1/06)

18 Apr 2007

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