World Bank retaliates against Parliamentary Whistleblower

World Bank retaliates against Parliamentary Whistleblower

Monday, February 18, 2008

World Bank Armenia Corruption Marches On with Transparency

For the past six months, whilst our international team of Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations has been pressing the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) to carry out an investigation into my claim of fraud and corruption in Armenian World Bank projects, I have attended a number of meetings with the local chapter of Transparency International (TI) and provided them with copies of many of the claim documents. TI has followed my action through the limited sector of the local media which is sufficiently independent to be able to follow the claim, plus through the international media, which has notably more freedom, and today TI has a pile of claim related articles in a portfolio some 3 of 4 inches thick.

TI is one of the Worlds foremost international organizations in the fight against corruption and their reports continually repeat the need to strengthen the effort, including with respect to combating corruption within the donor organizations. I was therefore pleased to recently receive a message from TI that their board of directors had convened and eventually agreed to formally support my action, adding that their Berlin office was preparing a letter for submission to the Bank.

Today, Google alerted me to an article in the Armenian publication ArmeniaNow, which articulated how Amalia Kostanyan, Armenia’s TI director, explained that Armenia’s Anticorruption Struggle is a major challenge”. I read the article with eagerness, convinced that she would at last make reference to my ‘Blowing the World Bank Whistle’ campaign, especially as the Armenia TI chapter no doubt has more information than both the Bank and its Department of Institutional Integrity put together.

But again I was to be disappointed; no mention of rampant World Bank corruption; no mention of how the Department of Institutional Integrity had been fending off an investigation for the past ten months; no mention of how the Bank’s recently appointed Country Manager had announced my claim was unfounded, despite him not having seen the documentation; and no mention of the high-level international support to the claim, which accuses the former Country Manager as a colluder in the wrongdoings - at a cost to the people of Armenia of tens of millions of dollars.

It is clear that, as with most other international organizations and institutions, such as the World Bank, the IMF, the United Nations, the OSCE, and many others, which bawl about the problems created by corruption and the need to wipe it out and to penalize the corrupt, Transparency International is fully committed to talking and writing about corruption, but when it comes to supporting an effort that exposes corruption and demands that it be investigated, Transparency International’s commitment is strictly LIMITED.

Thank you Transparency International for eventually agreeing to support my claim - But no thanks.

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