The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) met on Tuesday for an initial briefing from the Ethics Committee on the matter related to Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s alleged role in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 as described in the Investigation’s Report.
“The Board discussed the Ethics Committee’s deliberations so far and had a preliminary exchange of views on the report and the Managing Director’s statement in response to it,” IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice said in a statement. “The Executive Board emphasized the importance it attached to conducting a thorough, objective, and timely review and agreed to meet again soon for a further discussion.”
The future of the managing director of the IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva has been uncertain since an investigation into manipulation of an annual World Bank report found that the bank’s former chief executive directed staff to inflate China data.
More specifically, Georgieva was called out on Thursday by her previous employer, the World Bank, for applying pressure on staff to alter data to boost China’s position in a ranking economies.
The World Bank said in a review released in December that China’s position in the 2018 report (ease of doing business report), which was released in October 2017, should have been at number 85, seven places lower than number 78 which is where China ended up featuring.
In a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Georgieva disagreed with the findings, which were compiled by an outside law firm at the direction of the World Bank.
The Managing Director of the World Bank is David Malpass who was appointed by former President Donald Trump and came into office about the same time as Georgieva was moving to the IMF.
In a statement on the Report on Investigation of Data Irregularities in Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020, Georgieva said she disagrees ‘fundamentally’ with the ‘findings’ and ‘interpretations’ of the investigation, adding that she has already had an initial briefing with IMF’s Executive Board on the matter.
“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. I have already had an initial briefing with the IMF’s Executive Board on this matter,” she said.
In its report released on Thursday, the World Bank said the changes to China’s data in Doing Business 2018 report appear to to be the product of “two distinct types of pressure applied by the bank leadership on the Doing Business team.”
The World Bank said Georgieva, along with an adviser pressured the Doing Business team 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.”
The United States Treasury Department said it was reviewing the report. The Treasury Department manages U.S. engagement with the IMF and the World bank.
The United States has the biggest voting power in both the IMF and the World Bank and the Biden administration could decide whether Georgieva, a Bulgarian economist will remain as head of the IMF or be ousted.
Bloomberg noted that “The Doing Business report plays a notable role in emerging markets, with governments often showcasing moves up in ranking in appeals for foreign investment. But the integrity of the ratings has been the source of heated debate in recent years. Paul Romer quit in 2018 as the World Bank’s chief economist after questioning changes to Chile’s order in the report.”