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01/02/2003 | Help Wanted at IDB

Martin Edwin Andersen



The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reportedly has paid as much as $50,000 to a headhunting firm to find a replacement for outgoing Auditor General William Taylor, the watchers has learned.

 

The auditor general's office has been criticized in recent months for alleged failures to dig into reports of corruption, such as incidents reported by Insight that insiders at the IDB say have been embarrassing to Taylor. One of these involved a longtime associate named Armando Namis who now faces investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington for an alleged kickback scheme.

Namis worked for the auditor general, and since has been referred for possible criminal prosecution following a series of investigative stories and an internal probe by the IDB. Insight has not been able to reach Namis for comment despite repeated efforts to do so.

News of the departure of Taylor -- in 1995 he served as chairman of the board of the Institute of Internal Auditors and five years later won the group's prestigious Bradford Dadmus Memorial award -- marks the end of the career of one of IDB President Enrique Iglesias' most trusted aides, bank sources say.

Responding to a query by the watchers about Taylor's retirement, Thomas Green, counsel to the IDB, wrote: "I am responding to the e-mail which you sent ... to Mr. William L. Taylor, auditor general of the bank. As you are well aware, the bank has declined to respond to your incessant questions sent in various of your e-mail messages. However, with respect to the two questions directed to Mr. Taylor ... I am moved to reply because of the very distinguished and dedicated service which Mr. Taylor has provided to the bank during a career which spans 40 years.

"Accordingly," Green stated, "you are advised that Mr. Taylor's decision to retire was made months ago. That decision, and the selection of his retirement date, were matters of his own choosing. In no way whatsoever have personnel of the bank sought to influence Mr. Taylor's decision."

Green added: "This letter will serve to confirm that I have communicated to you the true and correct facts concerning Mr. Taylor's decision to retire. If you author and publish any misportrayal or misrepresentation of the facts concerning Mr. Taylor's retirement, you will cause severe damage to his reputation for which Mr. Taylor will undoubtedly seek redress."

The reference by Green to "incessant questions" involves a series of inquiries to the IDB concerning a variety of allegations of wrongdoing by current and former bank officials and contractors. While the bank thus far has formally declined to answer questions, a growing number of sources have come forward with answers and claim willingness to assist U.S. congressional and federal investigators now set to probe an expanding list of alleged problems. At least one senior member of the IDB board of directors was unaware of this magazine's inquiries and has echoed concerns raised by other top officials who want to get to the bottom of mounting allegations of wrongdoing.

Martin Edwin Andersen is a reporter for Insight.

Insight Magazine (Estados Unidos)

 



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