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Internal Document Shows World Bank's Mahmoud Mohieldin Apparently Demoted

Michael Termini, December 21, 2012

According to an internal document sent from World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on December 18, Mahmoud Mohieldin – Egypt’s former Minister of Investment during the deposed Hosni Mubarak regime – has apparently been demoted from his post as Managing Director. Mohieldin is now the Special Envoy on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Financial Development. While it is not yet clear what the Special Envoy will do about the MDGs and the United Nations, two things are certain: 1) Mohieldin has exchanged a central post at the Bank for a peripheral one, and 2) this is a pattern.

Over the last year-and-a-half, we have been investigating Mohieldin for his role in at least three suspicious (and potentially criminal) privatization transactions in Egypt. During this investigation, we have repeatedly pressed the World Bank to release Mohieldin’s financial disclosure records, arguing through various appeals that this information is a matter of public interest. The World Bank refuses to release the records, but instead has been actively shuffling Mohieldin around. We can’t help but notice that each time he moves, Mohieldin has lost a good chunk of his authority.

For example, near the beginning of this year, we acquired two World Bank organizational charts: one issued in January 2011 and a second in November 2011. When compared, the charts show that General Services, which include procurement at the Bank, were transferred from Mohieldin to Vincenzo La Via during the year. Apparently, former Bank President Zoellick (responsible for Mohieldin’s appointment in September 2010) thought Mohieldin should no longer be responsible for that any longer.

The decision to remove procurement responsibilities from Mohieldin is hardly surprising, given the avalanche of corruption allegations that we have tracked that hit him and his cronies after the fall of the Mubarak regime. While his appointment as Managing Director under Zoellick and the protection from investigation that the Bank afforded him was troubling enough, his new role as Bank President Kim’s Special Envoy on Millennium Development Goals and Financial Development is also disturbing.

It is not yet clear that Kim is aware of the shadow over Mohieldin as a consequence of his past dealings in the Mubarak government. What is clear is that Mohieldin has no experience protecting anyone from poverty other than himself. How he qualifies as an advocate for the MDGs is a mystery, but it probably indicates the low priority now assigned both the MDGs and Mohieldin at the World Bank in 2013.


Michael Termini is International Officer for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.