IMF reaffirms its trust in its managing director amid alleged misconduct

Doaa A.Moneim , Tuesday 12 Oct 2021

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced in a statement on Tuesday that its Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, is innocent of any misconduct regarding the ‘Doing Business 2018 Report’ that was released by the World Bank when she was its CEO.

Kristalina Georgieva
File Photo: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva speaks at the end of the Financing of African Economies Summit, in Paris Tuesday, May 18, 2021. AP

The Executive Board of the IMF reached its decision following a meeting held on Monday to conclude its review of the matter raised by WilmerHale’s investigation of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 Report, which claimed that Georgieva played a role in raising China’s rank in the doing business index while she was the CEO of the World Bank.

This was the eighth meeting the board held on the matter as part of it’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 board said in the statement.

It added that having looked at all the evidence presented, the Executive Board reaffirmed 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 the IMF’s staff and in the IMF’s robust and effective channels for complaint, dissent, and accountability.”

It also announced its plan to consider possible additional steps to ensure the strength of institutional safeguards in these areas.

On 16 September, The World Bank Group (WBG) announced that it will pause the release of the next Doing Business Report for 2021 over irregularities regarding 2018 and 2020 editions of the report that were reported internally in June 2020.

Following that, the WBG announced that it initiated series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology, pledging to work on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate.

According to the internal report of the investigation on these irregularities, which was prepared by law firm WilmerHale at the request of the bank’s Ethics Committee, the 2018 edition of the Doing Business Report contained misinformation on China and its ranking in the report’s doing business index.

The internal report claimed that the president of China interfered in the process to improve the ranking of China, which placed 78th — the same spot as in the 2017 edition of the report.

It also posited the involvement of Georgieva in this plot — while she was the World Bank’s CEO — referring to a meeting she held on 18 October with China’s country manager.

This action was taken by changing the methodology of the report regarding China’s case specifically, according to the internal report.

Moreover, the 2020 edition of the report contained an intervention to improve Saudi Arabia’s ranking so that it would be placed above Jordan in the index rather than below.

The report also featured irregularities in the placement of Azerbaijan.

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