(Washington, D.C.) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is pointing out that Ad Melkert, former Chair of the Ethics Committee of the World Bank Board of Directors, in submitting a statement today to the Ad Hoc Committee, echoed the remarks made by Roberto Dañino yesterday regarding President Paul Wolfowitz’ “recusal.” Melkert’s statement, like Dañino’s, directly challenges statements made yesterday by Wolfowitz and his attorney in which he claims to have acted in “good faith” when arranging an improper pay and promotion package for his partner, Shaha Riza. Both Dañino and Melkert demolish Wolfowitz’ contention that he tried to recuse himself in matters involving Riza. Both separately contend that he insisted on having ongoing professional contact with Shaha Riza while on the job, a clear violation of Bank rules. This is why the ‘recusal’ proposed by Wolfowitz was rejected by the Ethics Committee of the Bank Board.

Melkert’s statement includes the following:

Mr. Wolfowitz held an unchanged opinion that his initial proposal to be recused from personnel issue-related contacts with Ms. Riza would suffice. However, contrary to what the staff rules allowed for, Mr. Wolfowitz’s proposal explicitly insisted on the possibility of maintaining professional contacts with Ms. Riza. He kept that opinion even after grudgingly following the advice by the Ethics Committee.

“Both Melkert’s and Dañino’s statements make it clear that Mr. Wolfowitz never intended to end professional contact with Shaha Riza. Wolfowitz’ ‘recusal’ was a sham,” stated Bea Edwards, GAP International Director.

Melkert, like Dañino, also flatly denied Wolfowitz’s assertion that the Ethics Committee approved the salary raises provided to Riza, raises that exceeded the Bank rules for salary increases:

The Ethics Committee was not consulted, nor did it approve, the terms and conditions of the external placement including:

o The large initial pay increase.
o The stipulation for subsequent annual increases
o The stipulations for subsequent promotions.

In the conclusion to his statement, Melkert maintains that those speaking for Wolfowitz have been spreading misinformation:

I only became involved with the press when it became clear that those speaking for Mr. Wolfowitz were intent on continuing to spread erroneous information on the role and actions of the Ethics Committee.