Saturday, May 15, 2004

World Bank corruption

From IPS:

The World Bank has lost about 100 billion dollars slated for development in the world's poorest nations to corruption since 1946, nearly 20 percent of its total lending portfolio, according to a U.S. Senate committee.

”It is critical that every development bank dollar reaches its intended recipient,” said Sen Dick Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday. ”Unfortunately, that is not happening à corruption remains a serious problem.”

Lugar cited one of the panellists as the source for the massive figure. Jeffrey Winters of Northwestern University, who testified before the hearing, estimated the World Bank ”has participated mostly passively in the corruption of roughly 100 billion dollars of its loan funds intended for development.”

Other experts estimate that between five and 25 percent of the 525 billion dollars the Bank has lent since 1946 has been misused. This amounts to 26-130 billion dollars.

”Even if corruption is at the low end of estimates, millions of people living in poverty may have lost opportunities to improve their health, education and economic condition,” Lugar said.

A World Bank spokesman vehemently disputed the estimate. ”We completely reject the figure offered by one of the panellists,” said Damian Milverton. ”It has no basis in fact.”

Corruption has become a global issue as developing countries, watchdog groups and some economists complain that poor nations lose huge funds from multilateral development banks (MDBs) like the World Bank because of misuse of money. Yet taxpayers in those borrowing countries have to still to repay the banks.
I wonder if this will get the same amount of attention as "UNSCAM" from those vigilant overseers of corruption.