World Bank monitors McCarthy claims

The World Bank, current employer of former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy, said on Tuesday it was closely monitoring the situation relating to African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma’s former corruption case in South Africa.

However, it gave no indication that it intended taking any action against him.

On Monday acting National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mokotedi Mpshe laid blame for the collapse of the case against Zuma squarely at McCarthy’s door, saying he felt personally betrayed by his former colleague.

Mpshe said McCarthy had abused the legal process against Zuma for “collateral and illicit purposes”, and that his conduct “offends one’s sense of justice”.

The bank said in a statement on Tuesday that a number of claims and counter-claims were being made “in a very heated political environment in South Africa”.

“We are continuing to closely track the situation there, where we understand the matter is being referred to the justice department for further assessment,” it said.

It said before McCarthy was appointed, it had conducted extensive due diligence on him.

It had found him to be a man of high integrity and high professional standards.

McCarthy had had a global reputation, and a record of aggressively fighting corruption and other criminal wrongdoing in South Africa, often against powerful vested interests.

“Fighting corruption is not a popularity contest, and the holders of these positions often make enemies,” the bank said.

McCarthy took up his post, as vice president of the bank’s department of institutional integrity, on June 30 last year after Mbeki released him from his Scorpions position.

The department investigates fraud and corruption in development projects financed by the bank.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that during his year at the bank, McCarthy has gained a reputation as a blunt-spoken advocate for the importance of taking corruption seriously.

It said he had increased the number of blacklistings of companies engaged in corruption compared to the previous two years, and he was about to release a manual for World Bank employees on spotting graft and corruption.—Sapa

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