Friday, July 6, 2012

GAP International Program Update – Wrongdoing at the World Bank; A Landmark UN Decision

With a new World Bank president taking office last weekend, this Forbes cover story looks at how corruption and mismanagement permeates the ranks and programs of the institution. The Bank, as the long-form article details, is plagued by widespread opaqueness, decision-making marked by conflicts of interest, and questionable financial practices. According to a former director interviewed by Forbes, “the inmates are running the asylum.”

The piece also touches on how the Bank has a terrible record on whistleblower rights. Specifically, this companion Forbes article highlights the trials of World Bank whistleblower and GAP client John Kim, who gave internal documents to the media after he determined there were no effective internal channels for reporting wrongdoing. In retaliation, he was put on administrative leave and eventually fired. After he filed an appeal, the tribunal ordered him reinstated, but – despite this landmark ruling – he was forcibly retired a few months later.

Turning to the United Nations, last month, the UN Dispute Tribunal sided with a whistleblower rather than the institution. The Tribunal ruled that the Ethics Office, which is charged with reviewing retaliation complaints and safeguarding the interests of UN whistleblowers, failed to protect the whistleblower, who was fired after he raised concerns about corruption in the UN Kosovo mission. This decision sends an important message to the UN Ethics Office – that the judges in the new internal justice system will not tolerate failures to properly apply the UN whistleblower protection policy.

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