World Bank Document Raises Controversy in Philippines

20 January 2012

The disclosure of a World Bank document indicating possible misuse of Bank funds in the Philippines has raised a controversy and raised questions about the handling of such Bank documents.

The Bank’s aide memoire details “ineligible expenditures” to support a judicial reform project.

New reports indicate that the Bank’s aide memoire was provided to Philippine officials last month and that it was released Jan 18 by the Department of Finance, but accounts differ, with one attributing the first disclosure to a “fake” World Bank press release.

Under the Bank’s disclosure policy aide memoire’s may be released with the consent of the government and the Bank, a policy opposed as restrictive by pro-transparency advocates.

The Bank released a statement in the Philippines saying:

The aide memoire is a project monitoring and management tool that captures the World Bank’s implementation review findings and recommendations. Through the aide memoire, the bank informs the appropriate country authorities and works with them to address implementation issues. Given the deliberative nature of information, the aide memoire is usually not disclosed to the public.

The World Bank is seeking a refund of $199,000, according a report in The Inquirer. The funds were part of a almost-ended multi-year $21.9 million loan to the Philippines Supreme Court for the Judicial Reform Support Project.

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Filed under: IFTI Watch

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In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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