IMF executive board backs managing director amidst allegation of data manipulation

IMF executive board backs managing director amidst allegation of data manipulation

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has expressed confidence in the Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, on Monday despite her alleged involvement in data manipulation.

A press statement titled, ‘Statement by the IMF Executive Board on Its Review on the Investigation of the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 Report,’ published on IMF’s website contained this.

The Board has had a series of meetings meeting with representatives of WilmerHale and the Managing Director.

“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 statement read.

The Board agreed that based on a review of the allegation and investigations, they believe that the Managing Director should not be faulted.

“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,” the statement said.

It added “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 Board re-affirmed its commitment to support the Managing Director.

“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 statement read.

The Punch reported earlier that the World Bank Group announced that it was discontinuing the ‘Doing Business report’ after data regularities were discovered in its Doing Business 2018 and 2020.

In an investigation of Data Irregularities in Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 report, a law firm WilmerHale discovered irregularities in data for China, Saudi Arabia and UAE, and Azerbaijan’s placement in the Doing Business reports.

According to the investigated findings and reports by WilmerHale submitted to the World Bank executive directors, “The changes to China’s data in Doing Business 2018 appear to be the product of two distinct types of pressure applied by the Bank leadership on the Doing Business team: (1) pressure – both direct and indirect – applied by senior staff in the Office of the President, presumably at the direction of President Kim, to change the report’s methodology in an effort to boost China’s score; and (2) pressure applied by CEO Georgieva and her advisor, Mr Djankov, to make specific changes to China’s data points in an effort to increase its ranking at precisely the same time the country was expected to play a key role in the bank’s capital increase campaign.”

IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva who was the World Bank’s Chief Executive Officer at the time was called out by the Bank for applying pressure to boost China’s position in a ranking of economies.

Responding to the allegations, Georgieva said, “I disagree fundamentally with the findings and interpretations of the Investigation of Data Irregularities as it relates to my role in the World Bank’s Doing Business report of 2018.”

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