SEPTEMBER 05, 2007
Months after its president was forced out for getting his girlfriend promotions and hefty pay raises, officials at the scandal-plagued World Bank are working to kill a scathing report on the rampant fraud in a major bank-supported health care project in India.
After a thorough investigation, the World Bankâ??s Department of Institutional Integrity found that an Indian pharmaceutical program called Reproductive and Child Health Project has for years been rife with corruption that has led to the loss of billions of dollars.
A 16-page report reveals that the systematic fraud and corruption includes bribery of government officials and procurement support agencies, falsification of performance certificates and coercion of companies.
This includes costly but sub-standard drugs that exceeded World Bank budgets as well as other equipment that didnâ??t meet international standards.
Investigators say that multiple witnesses admitted bribing government officials and ministers in order to secure the bank-funded contracts and that there is plenty of evidence to merit sanctions against specific individuals and companies. This risks the future of similar programs intended to help the poor.
In fact, the 185-nation World Bank strives to reduce poverty worldwide by assisting developing countries but instead it has been infested with corrupt officials who have failed miserably to complete the institutionâ??s mission.
When President George W. Bush appointed Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank president in 2006, both men vowed to clean house and fervently pursue anti-corruption policies. Wolfowitz had been a high-ranking official in three different Republican administrations and was the nationâ??s Deputy Defense Secretary before taking the World Bank post.
But after a rather short tenure Wolfowitz resigned because he was exposed for abusing his authority to get his girlfriend promotions and huge pay increases at the institution. Wolfowitz admitted that he personally directed the World Bankâ??s head of human resources to offer his girlfriend, Shaha Riza, a pay increase that drew attention because it was more than double allowed under staff rules.
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