WASHINGTON D.C. (IHT) April 12 – Paul Wolfowitz’s tenure as president of the World Bank was thrown into turmoil by the disclosure that he had helped arrange a pay raise for his companion at the time of her transfer from the bank to the State Department, where she remained on the bank payroll.
In a chaotic day of revelations and meetings at a normally staid institution, Wolfowitz apologized for his role in the raise and transfer of Shaha Riza, his companion, to a few hundred staff members assembled in the bank building atrium, only to be greeted by booing, catcalls and cries for his resignation.
Earlier, the bank’s staff association had declared that it was “impossible for the institution to move forward with any sense of purpose under the present leadership.” The association had helped spearhead an investigation into Riza’s transfer and raise, details of which came into the open in the last 24 hours.
(Wikipedia) Wolfowitz personally directed that she should be promoted to management just before leaving (receiving a substantial pay raise) and that she has to have further salary increases at rates above the rate ceiling in the Bank. This raised Riza’s salary from $132,660 to $193,590 per year, tax-exempt.
She is presently working for Dick Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, in the State Department.
(WaPo – columnist Al Kamen) April 9 – Meanwhile, the March issue of Vanity Fair, in an article about huge defense contractor SAIC, says that, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, SAIC’s “subject-matter experts . . . were expected to lend a hand” to the Pentagon on various matters, such as “business development, . . . the role of women in government, and government reform.”
“Among SAIC’s subject-matter experts,” the article says, “was Shaha Riza, an Arab feminist and communications adviser at the World Bank. Riza also happened to be the girlfriend of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense.”
Unless she got bank permission to do this outside work, that would be a violation of bank rules, according to the Government Accountability Project’s international director, Bea Edwards.
A State Department spokesman said that Riza is now working at an “international non-government organization,” the Foundation for the Future, which was established by the United States and a group of European, Middle Eastern and North African governments.