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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

World Bank Ignores Corrupt Anti-Corruption Work

, April 15, 2010

On Monday, April 9, GAP sent a letter to Anne-Marie Leroy, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the World Bank, concerning the corruption of the review of the Bank’s investigative practices by an external panel chaired by Paul Volcker in 2007. World Bank Administrative Tribunal (AT) rulings published five months ago expose the way in which Suzanne Folsom, former Director of the Department of Institutional Integrity (INT), the investigative unit, infiltrated the Volcker panel. The AT rulings show that Folsom intimidated witnesses and altered both practices and documents to mislead the panel. Then she cobbled herself and her buddy into the working group that implemented the panel’s recommendations.

The General Counsel responded on April 13, with the following news:

While the findings of the Administrative Tribunal in the cases to which you allude have been disheartening to current Bank Management, there is nothing in those findings that undermines the validity of the Volcker Panel’s multiple recommendations. Indeed, experience has shown that the implementation of those recommendations has strengthened the World Bank’s anti-corruption agenda as well as improved the organization and administration of the Integrity Vice Presidency, as INT is now named.

Indeed! We don’t mean to pry, but whose experience has shown all this? Not ours. GAP is still up to its eyeballs in whistleblowers abused by INT. One World Bank staff member told us she couldn’t go to INT with her concerns: “Once they get hold of you, you’re dead meat,” she mused mid-2009. Another whistleblower was told by an INT investigator that when he (the investigator) told the Integrity Vice President that there was no compelling evidence on which to charge our whistleblower, he was told by the IVP, “Well, go back and find something.”

If this is the strengthened anti-corruption agenda, we don’t want to know what was going on over therebefore.

Let’s take a look at a smattering of Volcker Panel recommendations, and the status of their implementation, shall we? After all, we’re civil society (also taxpayers), and we’re just curious about the IVP’s new strengths.

Recommendation

Status

Results?

Elevate INT to VP status

Done, June ‘08

Outstanding!

Establish Independent Advisory Board

Done, Sept. ’08

Never heard from again.

Disclose credible allegations, investigative progress, and redacted reports to donors

Ongoing; requires guidelines to balance competing interests

Whose interests we talkin’ here?

Improve INT relations with Operations Policy and Internal Audit Department

Ongoing; interactive and yielding results

Useful response for your next performance review.

Enhance selected staff rights to improve fairness of internal investigations

Annex to Staff Rule 8.01 and Guide to Staff Rule 8.01 Investigative Process published December 2008

This one’s our favorite.

Improvefairness?

How about just being fair?

There’s more, but it all looks pretty much like this.

Here’s the thing: how do we know that even these banalities are in effect? And how is it that Bank management does not seem to see that the AT rulings do a number on the credibility of the INT “reforms?”