Business - Business & Economy - News - October 12, 2021

IMF Board clears World Bank MD of alleged manipulation of 2018 Doing Business Report

By Bassey Udo

Ths Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday cleared the former Managing Director of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, over the allegation that she manipulated the 2018 World Bank’s Doing Business Report

At the end of its review meetings on the investigation the IMF said there was no conclusive evidence to confirm the Georgieva played an improper role regarding the allegation.

The statement by the Fund reads.

“The IMF Executive Board met today to conclude its review of the matter raised by WilmerHale’s investigation of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report.

“This was the eighth such Board meeting on this matter, as part of the Executive Board’s commitment to a thorough, objective, and timely review. In particular, the Executive Board had two extensive discussions each with the representatives of WilmerHale as well as with the Managing Director.

“The Executive Board also took note that the World Bank’s investigation of potential World Bank staff misconduct in the Doing Business report matter is ongoing.

“The Executive Board considered that the information presented in the course of its review did not conclusively demonstrate that the Managing Director played an improper role regarding the Doing Business 2018 Report when she was CEO of the World Bank.

“Having looked at all the evidence presented, the Executive Board reaffirms its full confidence
in the Managing Director’s leadership and ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties.

“The Board trusts in the Managing Director’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards
of governance and integrity in the IMF.

“The Executive Board also reiterates its own commitment to supporting the Managing Director in maintaining the highest standards of governance and integrity in the data, research, and operations of the IMF and has confidence in the impartiality and analytical excellence of IMF staff and in the IMF’s robust and effective channels for complaint, dissent, and accountability.

“At the same time, the Executive Board plans to meet to consider possible additional steps to
ensure the strength of institutional safeguards in these areas.

“The Executive Board looks forward to continuing to work with the Managing Director, the rest
of the Management team, and the IMF’s dedicated staff to address the serious challenges facing the global economy and the IMF’s member countries.”

Last month, the World Bank announced it would discontinue issuing the annual”Doing Business report” following an investigation triggered by internal reports of “data irregularities and manipulation in its 2018 and 2020 editions” (released in 2017 and 2019, respectively).

The allegations raised serious concerns about possible “ethical issues” involving bank staff.

The probe by Washington-based law firm, WilmerHale, accused World Bank staff of manipulating data on China to boost its ranking on the Ease of Doing Business.

The manipulation was reportedly instigated by the office of the then-World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, and the former chief executive of the Bank, Kristalina Georgieva, and one of her advisers. Georgieva is currently the IMF MD.

In the three reports released in 2017, 2018 and 2019, India was ranked among the top 10 economies with the “most notable improvement”.

The report published in October 2019, placed India at 63rd in Doing Business, compared with 77th in 2018 and 100 in 2017.

Of the 79 positions in the Bank’s Doing Business rankings India rose ny 67 ranks between 2014 and 2019,  2017 onwards, with the biggest 30-rank jump happening in the Doing Business 2018 report, released in October 2017.

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