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World Bank board delays decision on Wolfowitz

The World Bank’s board of directors adjourned a meeting Friday to review the promotion by bank President Paul Wolfowitz for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, saying it would move quickly to decide how to proceed.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz apologizes for promotion and pay of an ex-colleague with whom he is romantically involved.
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz gives a press conference at the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.Matthew Cavanaugh / EPA
/ Source: Reuters

The World Bank’s board of directors adjourned a meeting Friday to review the promotion by bank President Paul Wolfowitz for his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, saying it would move quickly to decide how to proceed.

In a statement, the board said it found that the terms and conditions of Riza’s promotion and salary increase were not reviewed by an ethics committee nor the board’s chairman before it was approved by Wolfowitz, shortly after he joined the institution in 2005.

“The executive directors will move expeditiously to reach a conclusion on possible actions to take,” the board said in a statement. “In their consideration of the matter the executive directors will focus on all relevant governance implications for the bank.”

The review by the board of member countries focused on whether Wolfowitz broke staff rules when he approved Riza’s promotion and pay raise before she was assigned to the State Department to resolve a possible conflict of interest.

‘I made a mistake, for which I am sorry’
On Thursday, Wolfowitz apologized, saying he made a mistake in the way he handled the issue on Riza, who had worked for the bank for eight years and was a senior communications officer.

“In hindsight, I wish I had trusted my original instincts and kept myself out of the negotiations. I made a mistake, for which I am sorry,” he said.