Allegations that she had exerted pressure on World Bank staff to change a methodology to favour China during her time as World Bank CEO, were denied by Kristalina Georgieva, who is currently the chief of the International Monetary Fund.
A formal review of the matter was launched by the IMF’s executive board.
Findings that were found in an independent report made public on Thursday about data irregularities in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings of country business climates, which has now been cancelled, were address by Georgieva during a previously scheduled meeting with the IMF’s 2,700-strong staff.
“Let me put it very simply to you. Not true. Neither in this case, nor before or after, I have put pressure on staff to manipulate data,” Georgieva told IMF staff, according to a transcript of the meeting provided to the media.
The comments made at the meeting were more than what she had said in a statement that was issued on Thursday in which she had mentioned that she fundamentally disagreed with the findings of the report.
The report was prepared after an investigation by the law firm WilmerHale, which was appointed by the World Bank’s ethics committee to inquire in the matter. In report had concluded that Georgieva and other senior World Bank officials had applied “undue pressure” on staff for increasing the ranking of China in a list of that ranks countries in terms of business climate.
While claiming that she highly values data and analysis, Georgieva told IMF staff that she did not impose pressure on her staff to change it, according to the transcript of the meeting.
It is working on a second report that will address “potential misconduct of staff members” in connection with the data irregularities, WilmerHale said.
IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Friday that the report is also being reviewed by the IMF’s executive board ethics committee.
The board of the World Bank was briefed of the report by Georgieva on Thursday.
“As part of the regular procedure in such matters, the ethics committee will report to the board,” Rice added, but gave no timetable for any conclusions.
At the time when the alleged incident had happened, the Washington-based multilateral lender was trying to secure a big capital contribution from China. That effort was being overseen at that time by Georgieva, as CEO of the World Bank and Jim Yong Kim as the World Bank President.
Georgieva has been heading te IMF and its 2,500 employees since October 2019 and has played a crucial role in the organization’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic while also managing to secure support for a $650 billion distribution of IMF monetary reserves to the Fund’s 190 member countries.
Concerns at the development were raised by some of the member countries of the IMF – which are crucial in fund the emergency lending and other projects of the organization aimed at alleviating poverty and bolstering global financial stability. The member countries said that the ethics report was being reviewed by them. The countries include included the United States, France, Britain and Japan.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)