Government Accountability Project (GAP): Bank Staffer Comments Show Low Morale, Outrage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2006
CONTACT: Government Accountability Project (GAP)
Bea Edwards, International Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 155
Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 137, 202.236.3733 (cell)
Bank Staffer Comments Show Low Morale, Outrage
Internal Bank Server Allows Anonymous Staffer Postings;
GAP Also Releases Email Showing Bank Management Retains Law Firm to Investigate Whistleblowers
Washington, D.C.– Today, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) is releasing the comments of World Bank staffers that were posted on the organization’s internal communications server. The comments, 221 in all, show the low level of staff morale and the outrage toward Bank senior management. This follows news reports based on GAP’s previous release of documents involving the Paul Wolfowitz-Shaha Riza scandal and Riza’s ties to SAIC, a U.S. defense contractor. GAP obtained the comments from an internal source at the Bank. They are available in two parts:
“Many of these comments highlight the staff’s overall concern for the reputation and mission of the Bank in light of the continuing disclosures of apparent misconduct at the highest levels of management,” said Bea Edwards, GAP International Program Director. “Many comments also call for action by the Board of Governors.”
Here is one such comment:
In any organization - who, together with the organizaton's leadership safeguards the ethics, integrity, values and codes that binds that organization together? It is Human Resources and Legal. Based on the revelations in the media and on this page - there is at least a perception that both these invaluable functions whose remit it is to safeguard the Institution - may now be utterly compromised. Please - Board of Governors/Board of Directors - move, and move very very quickly. In your hands lies the future of this organization, its mission and its staff.
Additional comments emphasize staffers’ concerns about Shaha Riza’s relationship to SAIC during the run-up to the Iraq war. Here is a sample:
The allegation that Mrs. Riza worked for SAIC during the Iraq war while a WB employee is worse than the allegation about her salary increases. If true, our client countries might not take us seriously anymore. The Board must act on this.
Finally, it is clear that World Bank staffers have lost faith in their internal investigation unit and recognize an urgent need for a strong whistleblower protection policy.
“…The apparent absence of any attempt by INT or the Board to establish due process to resolve these issues in a rapid and fair manner does not speak highly of the corporate governance standards of the World Bank - and whistleblower management. In the meantime, we find ourselves in the absurd situation of having to investigate and ascertain the statements of the World Bank's leadership, and provide rebuttals to their assertions…”
Yesterday, GAP made available to the media a memo from the World Bank General Counsel to all staff showing that Bank management has retained a law firm to identify whistleblowers. That memo is now available publicly here:
Edwards said, “Clearly, this is an attempt by Bank management to create a climate of intimidation and to silence whistleblowers, both past and future.”
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, WA.