Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s Lands a New Job – at the World Bank

(Photo: RNW)

We thought he was going to FIFA to investigate ethical breaches and corruption. He had wanted the post but, at the last moment, lost the job. Now, however, the World Bank is apparently set to hire Luis Moreno-Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor at the ICC. From Reuters:

“The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will lead a review of Bangladesh’s investigation of alleged corruption tied to a major bridge project, the World Bank said late on Friday.

Luis Moreno Ocampo will head the three-member panel and deliver a report to the World Bank, one of several steps necessary for the Washington-based development institution to resume its $1.2 billion line of credit. Ocampo sought to prosecute individuals for crimes against humanity at the ICC, located in The Hague, Netherlands.

The World Bank canceled funding for the Padma River development in Bangladesh in June, saying it had “credible evidence” of high-level corruption among Bangladeshi government officials.

The Padma Multipurpose Bridge, at 4 miles long, would be the longest water crossing in the country, linking the underdeveloped south with the capital Dhaka and the main port of Chittagong.

The bank said it would resume financing of the project once agreed measures with the government were implemented.

These include an outside panel of experts to assess the credibility of the government’s investigation into allegations of corruption in the bridge project by the specially appointed Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh (ACC).

Joining Ocampo on the panel are Timothy Tong, the former commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong, and Richard Alderman, former director of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.”

As always, it will be interesting (and likely entertaining!) to see how Moreno-Ocampo performs in his new position.

For Bangladesh – as it would have been for FIFA and President Sepp Blatter – it never looks good to have a former Prosecutor of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide investigating the government’s decision-making and policies. But it certainly does make it appear to the wider public that the issue of corruption is being taken seriously.

In comparison to the FIFA job, heading the panel is small peanuts, especially for an individual who has a penchant to seek the spotlight and clearly adores public attention. That being said, Moreno-Ocampo’s inclusion as the head of panel has the potential to bring much greater media and international focus to issues of development and corruption in Bangladesh. That may be bad for certain figures in Bangladesh’s government but it may be very good for accountability.

Interestingly, there is also a Libyan and Canadian connection to the story. According to the Reuters report,

“Two former executives from Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which bid to supervise the contractor on the bridge project, appeared in a Toronto court in July accused of bribing officials in Bangladesh.

Canada launched an investigation last year into allegations of corruption in the bridge bidding process after the World Bank brought the issue to their attention.”

SNC-Lavalin has been rocked by scandals in recent months after it was revealed that the company had very close ties to the Gaddafi regime.

About Mark Kersten

Mark is a researcher, consultant and teacher based in Toronto, Canada. His research focuses on the nexus of international criminal justice and conflict resolution. Specifically, Mark's work examines the politics of the International Criminal Court and the effects of its interventions on peace, justice and conflict processes.
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3 Responses to Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s Lands a New Job – at the World Bank

  1. Actually, the World Bank might be bit less far-fetched for a former ICC Prosecutor than FIFA. Once Mr. Moreno-Ocampo is finished looking at corruption in Bangladesh, he might turn his attention to the relationship between WB funding and development project-induced involuntary resettlement in places like Ethiopia. In a recent complaint submitted to the World Bank Inspection Panel, the NGO Inclusive Development International (full disclosure – I’m an associate) alleged links between WB funding and violent evictions of project affected people in Gambella, Ethiopia that constituted apparent violations of human rights and could even rise to the level of crimes against humanity:

    In light of the current scramble for resources in a shrinking world, expertise in investigating and seeking accountability for gross human rights violations is – sadly – likely to become an increasingly important preoccupation for international financial institutions.

  2. Mark Kersten says:

    Thanks for this very interesting and insightful comment, Rhodri. I agree with you that it’s perhaps not as far-fetched as it may seem. More importantly, I think it’s quite a good move for the World Bank. It will be interesting if LMO’s job leads to his appointment to investigate similar cases for the World Bank in the future, including the case in Ethiopia to which you refer. It’s also fascinating that the worlds of financial institutions and international criminal justice are colliding.

  3. John Doe says:

    Having a browse online researching something else I came across this article. It made me chuckle a little as I have actually conducted extensive research into Luis Ocampo and his chain of command at the ICC, spoken with several people behind the scenes past and present and am amazed sometimes at the sheer brazenness of this man, pulling a fast one right before the eyes of the world stage he loves to court so very much.

    When you’ve spent as long on this projects as have I, you realize that actually there is very little surprise in this promotion. The world of apparent Finance and International Justice regarding ICC candidates seem to keep colliding…interestingly, but that’s a whole other article into alleged corruption, bribery, fraud and this may not be the forum for such details. I have it on good authority, such information is about to come into the public domain pretty soon.

    There are similarities involving the Libyan interest, the Khaddafi connection, and the financial institution. This is holy trinity is by no means new for Luis Ocampo, or indeed those within his inner sanctum.

    His successor, Fatou Bensouda herself has enjoyed the same career transition, from a little known Gambian lawyer qualified in Maritime Law in Malta, to consultancy to a bank with dubious connections, including Khaddafi, to within weeks becoming head of this same bank, with allegations abounding of some behind the scenes deals she had to be in place to enable, then a swift more to international criminal law and trajectory through the International criminal court, where some say it had already been pre-destined she would succeed Ocampo, with his full permission and development.

    The joke is on the public, all these rumors of celebrities being part of the illuminati printed daily, when the slickest operation is happening right before their eyes with a very tight knit network of significant individuals manipulating everything. From Government elections, financial institutions, oil deals, aid and all the things that are just taken at face value for being exactly what they say on the tin. All achieved in the name of justice.

    Luis Ocampo continues to surf the seas of International, global power in ways many of you will indeed be surprised to fathom the depth of his involvement in. He has his inner sanctum, with Fatou Bensouda and Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, not so much his henchman, not so much his Private Banker, she is all things to this man. He is a man of great significance, a real gangster of old with little fear of reprisal or consequence. He laughs at the joke of how he courts the media, because whilst he distracts you to look at him, no one is really looking behind the scenes at what is going on with him really. You think he’s courting the media, really he’s just keeping them busy and blind.

    His star will continue to rise, he will continue to be rewarded and moved around wherever there is a significant need in the game of chess his network plays along with his most significant team members mentioned above. He was never much in terms of lawyer, or in fact Chief Prosecutor even, but his true genius, his true calling, his true global role, is that of ‘A Fixer’ plain and simple. So, well done Ocampo on this promotion, the next, and the next. The rest of you, at some point, catch up! This guy is laughing at your total ignorant bliss, this provides his total job satisfaction, whatever position he is currently sailing through.

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