Former Dutch Labour (PvdA) party leader Ad Melkert was closely involved in events surrounding the conflict of interest scandal currently facing World Bank leader Paul Wolfowitz, according to World Bank documents.
The documents show that Melkert, chairman of the World Bank’s ethics committee, gave Wolfowitz a ‘personal and confidential’ memo on the behalf of the committee in October 2005 to acknowledge the ‘resolution of the conflict of interest’. ‘This matter can be treated as closed,’ Melkert wrote.
Wolfowitz is under considerable pressure to resign after it emerged that he was involved in getting a new job and salary increase for his girlfriend Shaha Riza.
The documents, released by the World Bank at the end of last week, have been published by the Chicago Tribune newspaper, among others. ‘The 100 pages of once-confidential documents reveal a cosy relationship between not only the president and his friend, but also the chairman of the ethics committee’, the Chicago Tribune wrote.
‘Dear Paul,’ Melkert added in a hand-written note, ‘This is (formally worded for the records) just to confirm the outcome regarding this extraordinarily difficult issue.’ Melkert went on to thank Wolfowitz and wish Riza happiness in her ‘new assignment’. ‘PS,’ he added, ‘Please let me know whether you could accept an invitation to you and Shaha at our place…’
Reuters reported last week that a spokesman for Melkert confirmed that his committee had advised Wolfowitz that Riza should be moved outside the bank to avoid breaking rules on inter-company relationships but had left it up to management to determine the terms.
World Bank documents
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