Friday, April 13, 2007

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

FT Via Adventus:

What then is the story? When Mr Wolfowitz became president of the World Bank he also became the boss of his girlfriend, Shaha Riza. To resolve this situation – inconsistent, rightly, with Bank rules – Ms Riza was seconded to the US State Department.

So far, then, so unproblematic. Yet, it is alleged, the terms of the appointment, which appear astonishingly generous, violate a number of Bank protocols. Worse, it now appears Mr Wolf­owitz personally directed the Bank’s head of human resources to offer his girlfriend these exceptional terms. Worse still, this has come out after misleading claims by a senior official that the ethics committee of the board, in consultation with the general counsel, approved the agreement.

What then do we see here? The answer is: an apparent violation of Bank rules; favouritism that borders on nepotism; and a possible cover-up. It is true Mr Wolfowitz and Ms Riza were put in a difficult position. Even so, what has come out would be bad in any institution. In an institution that spear-heads the cause of good governance in the developing world, it is lethal.

Like many things this reminds me of a song. Perhaps one day they will be writing poems, plays, and sonnets about the love Paul Wolfowitz shared with Shaha Riza. Here is some sympathy Bruce Cockburn style for these star crossed lovers.