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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

GAP Statement on World Bank Criticism of Forbes Article

Bea Edwards, July 09, 2012

In response to Richard Behar’s article in Forbes"The Fate of a World Bank Whistleblower,” the World Bank claimed that GAP client John Kim, the subject of the piece, was not, in fact, a whistleblower. We at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) want to set the record straight.  For 34 years, we’ve represented whistleblowers – thousands of them now – and we know one when we see one. John Kim was a whistleblower, and the World Bank fired him in order to punish him for telling the truth.

The World Bank makes much of the fact that a whistleblower protection policy is in place there.  But it is a weak policy, riddled with loopholes. Kim’s attorney therefore argued that Kim should be reinstated because he was a whistleblower and because, as a consequence of his whistleblowing, Bank management violated his rights as a staff member. The Administrative Tribunal ruled that the Bank violated Kim’s rights, but the whistleblower policy failed to protect him. The ruling the Tribunal issued is thus silent on why Bank management picked John Kim, out of over 10,000 employees, to spy on, hack, marginalize and fire.  The Tribunal simply ruled that this was what happened. At GAP we know that it happened because  Kim made a public interest disclosure to the press about anti-corruption debates at the Bank.  There was no other reason. The Bank did not present an alternative explanation and the Tribunal didn’t ask for one.

To our knowledge – and we keep close track – since 2008, when the whistleblower protection policy was put in place at the World Bank, not a single whistleblower has been able to protect him or herself from retaliation using that policy in arguments before the Tribunal. 


Bea Edwards is Executive Director of the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leadingwhistleblower protection and advocacy organization.