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British Charity Criticizes World Bank Over Anti-Corruption Measures

An official of British charity Action Aid says the World Bank needs to look at itself before pointing accusing fingers at others.

The comments by senior policy advisor Romily Greenholl come in the wake of a disagreement with Chad over the use of funds from a World Bank loan. The bank also pushed for more transparency in the Republic of Congo’s oil sector when the country sought debt relief.

Greenholl says it is better for civil society, parliaments, and NGOs, and not the Bank, to hold their governments to account. She describes the World Bank as an institution lacking transparency and therefore not fit to make such judgments.

“The World Bank itself is heavily dominated by the G8 countries. Its structure is basically one dollar, one vote, so the more you pay, the more of [a] say you have in the institution. We never find that acceptable in a country, but we do find that acceptable in an institution like the World Bank, which has a fundamental impact on poor countries.”

Greenholl says sometimes rich countries help promote corruption in poor countries but lack the commitment to deal with the consequences. “In the UK for example, 1.3 billion dollars of stolen wealth from the Abacha regime from Nigeria is still being held in UK bank accounts, but the UK made very little effort to return that money to Nigeria, even though it rightfully belongs to the Nigerian people…. We propose that all stolen assets should be returned to the people of the countries from where [they] come.”

Greenholl also proposes tougher actions against western firms that are participating in corruption in the developing world