World Bank anti-corruption chief follows Wolfowitz out the door

Business Materials 17 January 2008 06:40 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- The World Bank's top anti-corruption official is leaving her job to return to the private sector, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Suzanne Rich Folsom, a US ethics lawyer, was closely associated with former World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz . He stepped down in June under a barrage of criticism for his management style and a promotion that he arranged for another World Bank employee who was his girlfriend.

Wolfowitz named Folsom in 2006 to head the aid agency's Department of Institutional Integrity, which investigates corruption inside the World Bank. Her ties with the US Republican Party and aggressive pursuit of alleged misconduct made enemies at among the bank's staff.

She also was a top aide to Wolfowitz , though she joined the bank under his predecessor, James Wolfensohn .

The Government Accountability Project, a private, Washington-based watchdog group, criticized her dual role as an alleged conflict of interest.

A World Bank-commissioned inquiry led by former US Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker found in September that the anti-corruption unit lacked oversight, was too aggressive in questioning staff members about alleged misconduct and generated mistrust among bank employees.

"Suzanne has decided to leave the World Bank to return to the private sector," the World Bank spokeswoman said.

Folsom was considered the last top holdover from the tumultuous Wolfowitz era, which ended when Robert Zoellick , a former US deputy secretary of state, took over last year as World Bank chief.

Two other top aides appointed in 2005 by Wolfowitz from the Bush administration also drew fire at the bank. Critics accused them of grabbing power and ignoring the advice of senior bank executives.

Wolfowitz's signature issue during his shortened tenure was fighting corruption, which Volker's report said was "pervasive and deeply embedded" in many countries that receive World Bank aid. But the methods he used led to serious controversy.

Folsom was temporarily replaced by Johannes Zutt , a senior World Bank official who has worked on the agency's China programme.

The Washington-based bank, funded mostly by rich countries, has some 10,000 employees and lends more than 20 billion dollars a year to poor nations for anti-poverty projects.