Statement by IDB President on the Investigation Report Presented to the Board of Directors

As the elected President of the Inter-American Development Bank, I supported and participated in this unprecedented investigation, which, as expected, does not substantiate the false and anonymous allegations that were made against me or IDB staff in the press.  I would welcome the opportunity to officially respond to the investigation’s findings in accordance with Bank rules and international standards, to finally be able to discuss the matter with the Board of Governors to demonstrate why the allegations are false, and so that together we can work on recommendations to strengthen transparency and Bank processes.

It is the first time in the history of any multilateral development bank that a process like this takes place, where an elected leader has been subject to an arbitrary investigation without any formal complaint within the administrative rules of the organization and launched on the basis of anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations. It is unprecedented. Despite the absence of due process, I fully cooperated without relinquishing my constitutional rights. The handling of the investigation has repeatedly violated the Ethics Rules of the Bank, basic norms, and raised seriously questionable practices, including manipulating, distorting, and knowingly using information proven to be unreliable to predetermine an outcome instead of presenting a fair and unbiased review.

Transparency, accountability, and due process are key components of trust, which is of the utmost importance today to the IDB’s work as a development institution. I believe that complaints, even if anonymous, should be taken seriously and handled with care, and firmly uphold that the IDB should be a rules-based institution, as established by charter, and not a political organization that is driven by ideological or partisan interests.

Because of this, it is important to note the investigative process failed to meet international standards of integrity that both the IDB and the region strive to exemplify. In clear and direct contravention of IDB ethics rules, neither I nor any other IDB staff member has been given an opportunity to review the final investigative report, respond to its conclusions, or correct inaccuracies. These rules, which apply to all IDB employees including myself and staff that the allegations are against, require that IDB employees be given 15 business days to respond to the allegations. The rules are designed to ensure due process and fair outcomes. Anyone familiar with Latin America and the Caribbean is aware of persistent concerns among citizens about the lack of due process rights that all-too-frequently plague court systems and undermine the provision of justice in the region. And it is unfortunate that this institution which is trusted in the region cannot deliver due process to its own employees.

The IDB should epitomize the type of ethical conduct, transparency and eagerness for justice that it promotes throughout the region, and one must ask why the bank has failed to honor its own rules, and even common-sense ethical precepts, throughout this investigative process. Unfortunately, this ad-hoc, arbitrary process has, from its inception, violated IDB rules and norms, including privacy safeguards and confidentiality rules, while failing to prevent conflicts of interests among those responsible for carrying out and evaluating the investigation.

Willful disregard of the IDB’s established rules and processes, as we have witnessed, poses a reputational risk for the IDB and negligently fails to protect the staff across our 26 regional borrowing member countries, as well as in Europe and Asia. To ensure that the IDB, our staff, and our mission is protected, it is essential that the Bank exemplify the highest standards of integrity, accountability, and due process. It will be vital to implement internal reforms so it can continue to increase trust and effectively promote transparency and integrity in public institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This episode now gives us an opportunity to consider actions necessary to safeguard and protect the integrity of the IDB, our work, and our workforce against any form of abuse, violations, or institutional political machinations. We must redouble our efforts to modernize the Bank and advance with the reforms aimed at bringing much greater resources to bear to improve lives in our region.

As we move forward, I want to expressly thank the IDB, IDB Invest and IDB Lab’s employees for their exemplary performance of their duties and continued prioritization of the Bank’s operations and the region. I’m honored to work with such professionals.

Mauricio Claver-Carone