Bring on the resignation… Time to start the office pool… When’s it going to come? What is Bush going to say? “Great job, Wolfie?” How many medals will he get! PS: See the Wolfie YouTube video.
From the April 27, 2007, New York Times:
Wolfowitz Loses Ground in Fight for World Bank Post
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
WASHINGTON, April 26 — Paul D. Wolfowitz’s struggle to hold on to his job as World Bank president suffered a major setback on Thursday when more than 40 members of the organization’s anticorruption team, formed to promote transparent government and closely identified with Mr. Wolfowitz, declared that the controversy over his conduct was undermining their work.
Without directly calling for his resignation or removal, the team said that Mr. Wolfowitz and the bank’s board needed to take “clear and decisive actions to resolve this crisis,” which it said was undermining the bank’s “credibility and authority to engage” on the corruption issue.
“The credibility of our front-line staff is eroding in the face of legitimate questions from our clients about the bank’s ability to practice what it preaches on governance,” the statement said. “In these circumstances, we cannot credibly implement the GAC strategy,” using the acronym for governance and anticorruption.
The group’s statement was seen as especially grave because Mr. Wolfowitz has made ending government corruption his signature issue as World Bank president since 2005. Some of the statement’s signers had sided with Mr. Wolfowitz over the past year against efforts by others to water down the antigraft program.
Officials familiar with the drafting of the statement said that by stopping short of calling for Mr. Wolfowitz to step down, the signers were sending a clear message that the bank’s 24-member board needed to act soon to remove Mr. Wolfowitz, without presuming to tell the directors how to go about it.
The bank’s board agreed Thursday to let Mr. Wolfowitz appear Monday before the board to argue that he should be cleared of any charges of misconduct and allowed to remain as president.
Though Mr. Wolfowitz’s lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, will be at the session, he will not be permitted to argue on behalf of his client, the directors said.
The unusual meeting with the board next week could bring a showdown over the main issue of whether Mr. Wolfowitz acted improperly in arranging a pay and promotion package for his female companion in 2005, and over other issues related to her and various bank policies.
Mr. Wolfowitz, who has steadily lost support in recent weeks at the bank and in finance ministries around the world, had asked Wednesday to appear before the board next week. He conveyed that request in a letter charging that the board had treated him “shabbily and unfairly” by not giving him enough time to make his case.
In a letter back to Mr. Wolfowitz on Thursday, the chairman of the bank’s committee dealing with his conduct, Herman Wijffels, a director from the Netherlands, said the bank was prepared to receive him Monday before it determined “what actions are necessary to ensure that the bank can effectively carry out its mandate.”
Mr. Wijffels promised to reach a conclusion about Mr. Wolfowitz “urgently, effectively and in an orderly manner” complying with due process, according to people who read the letter.
The rebuff over Mr. Bennett means that the Mr. Wolfowitz, a former professor and academic dean as well as a former deputy defense secretary, will in effect be cramming this weekend for what could turn out to be his only day in court.
Bank officials say that a majority of the 24 members of the board, all of whom represent countries or groups of countries, appear determined to remove him but that there is no consensus over how to do it.
The bank’s governance articles say that “the president shall cease to hold office when the executive directors so decide.”
Bank officials said that at least one director on the board suggested in a meeting on Wednesday that Mr. Wolfowitz be ordered to take a leave of absence, but that this was rejected as not within the bylaws. That leaves a debate over whether to oust him directly, reprimand him in a way that makes his situation untenable, or play for time in the hope that he resigns on his own.
Some officials at the bank speculated Thursday that they were waiting for Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. to enter into negotiations with the finance ministers of Europe over Mr. Wolfowitz’s resignation, along with a finding that he had acted in good faith.
At the center of the original charges against Mr. Wolfowitz is his arranging for a pay increase, transfer and promotion for his companion, Shaha Ali Riza, who had worked for the bank for seven years before Mr. Wolfowitz arrived. Mr. Wolfowitz was preparing to argue at the board meeting on Monday that he had arranged for the pay raise only after being told to do so by the chief of ethics at the board, Ad Melkert, who has written at least two documents saying that Mr. Wolfowitz had complied with the request of ethics officials that Mr. Melkert handle Ms. Riza’s transfer out of the bank to avoid a conflict of interest by Mr. Wolfowitz.
However, in a statement last week, Mr. Melkert said he did not intend to suggest “that the ethics committee was aware or should have been aware of the terms and conditions of Ms. Riza’s contract” when she was detailed to the State Department.
Mr. Melkert is now a top official at the United Nations Development Fund.
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