As documented by African American Bishops for Justice, the Bank saw Dr. Biru not only as a whistle blower, but also as a Black African whistleblower. His being black was what the World Bank used as a target to destroy his career beyond repair.
World Bank Official Diversity Report (2015) - On the scale of 1 to 6, where 1 represents apartheid like system, 6 stands for full racial equality, the World Bank 2015 diversity report found the World Bank “hovering between 2 and 3.” This is below the minimum threshold of 4 where institutions begin to develop accountability against racial discrimination. The report found Dr. Biru’s case as “a blatant and virulent case of racism.”
As documented in several independent reports, the World Bank retroactively degraded Dr. Biru's official performance record, deeming it too good to be true for a black man. A sample of Dr. Biru’s official HR record is shown in column 1 below. Column 2 shows the downgraded and defamatory record that is currently on the World Bank website. The strategy is to make sure that Dr. Biru will never be employed by any international agency or work as a professor. To ensure the latter, the World Bank removed Dr. Biru's title and research leadership from its publications. His life long accomplishments were criminally wiped out. See here and here for more information. In 2014, the Bank restored his record but refused to correct the public record. Their explanation? His record is "hagiographic" - too good to be true - for public release and the Bank has responsibility to keep his supposed hagiographic record to "protect his privacy". See here.
Below the table of the two columns are examples of areas where the World Bank removed Dr. Biru's title and leadership roles from its publications and websites. It also includes testimonials from World Bank staff and consultants.
The retroactively degraded and defamatory
record that is still on the World Bank website
(This is just a small sample)
Dr. Biru’s internally restored performance record that the Bank claims is too good to be true for a black man
(This is just a small sample)
Global Program Management: "As Deputy Global Manager he carries heavy loads... He has multiple roles in terms of the Bank’s global management, managing one of the most critical programs the Bank has ever managed… He is praised for his many skills in handling difficult regional program implementation cases.”
Partnership Building: "The Bank's role in managing the global program is extremely important & high profile with many international partners involved in the work on day-to-day basis… His work in managing sensitive relationships between international stakeholders is very impressive. He broadened the scope of the global partnership”
Leadership: "The program just couldn’t be successful without his technical expertise and knowledge of key players."
Research Management and Leadership: “He managed research and brought to fruition important methodological innovations in critical areas that have created a lasting-legacy.”
Client Orientation: He is consistently rated outstanding and superior. He understands client's needs and concerns and responds promptly to client needs.
Team Work: “He has done an excellent job of working
with the team to bring together research, advocacy,
financing, project planning, and many other parts needed to launch the global program.”
"He had no management responsibility in the Bank’s global management...To be sure, he has been asked to help during spikes in work assignments as a team member"
[This was a bold and shameful lie. See "Witnesses" page on this site.]
"He doesn’t have the judgment and relationship management skills… He lacks credibility with the international community... "
" The global project would be put at risk if he was made global manager"
[His leadership roles were surgically deleted from the Bank’s publications and websites.]
“Some regions do not want to work with him – they do not think he listens or tries to understand their perspective.”
“He was not regarded as a team player nor able to work cooperatively with others.”
THREE CONCRETE EVIDENCE SHOWING THE BRAZEN NATURE OF THE CRIME
Below are three sets of material evidence. The first and second sets provide specific examples of how the injustice was carried out. The third set focuses on testimonials from World Bank staff and consultants as well as international senior officials.
EVIDENCE SET I: SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
The World Bank went as far back as 2001 to surgically delete Dr. Biru's title and leadership roles from many reports. The goal was to disavow his official record that read: “He managed and brought to fruition important methodological innovations in critical areas that have created a lasting-legacy.” Retroactively, the Bank claimed his record is too good to be true for a black man and gave the credit to four Caucasian managers.
One of his management accomplishments was leading the development of what is known as the SPD method that has become a global standard for cost of living comparisons. The SPD issue was thorny for Europeans who have adopted the method, abandoning procedures they have been using for many decades. It made their opposition to Dr. Biru’s becoming Global Manager difficult to defend.
The Bank’s solution was to deny his leadership and management role in the SPD work and give the credit to a Caucasian manager [Mr. KZ].
Before it was falsified, Dr. Biru’s record read: "The process to build the list of specification [SPDs] as laid out by Yonas is shaping up very nicely (2004). "The Team led by Yonas has broken new grounds" (2005). "Yonas managed the SPD work. The method was adopted by the European Union " (2006).
After the World Bank falsified his record, a senior World Bank official (Misha Belkindas) testified under oath on the record stating: "Yonas was not involved in the SPD work. The job was done by people from the IMF.” The Bank’s publication gave the credit to Mr. KZ of the IMF.
The SPD team of 9 staff and consultants were housed in the World Bank and managed by Dr. Biru for four years. The IMF did not have an SPD team at all. This is just one example of many.
EVIDENCE SET II: SPECIFIC EXAMPLE
One of Dr. Biru's most important accomplishments was the work he lead on global poverty measurment and monitoring work. The Poverty Purchasing Power Parity (Poverty PPP) work that Mr. Biru initiated, guided, managed and brought to fruition is acknowledged in his official performance record that has been restored internally.
His performance in the poverty PPP work was rated “Superior” in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005, and “Outstanding/Best Practice” in 2006. When he first proposed the new approach in a published paper many experts did not believe it would work. He raised money from the Bank's research fund and from outside sources to finance the research and pilot work in three regions. The work took ten years to get wide acceptance internationally. Here are just a few selected statements about his contribution:
Mr. Derek Blades, Director OECD: "Mr. Biru was particularly keen to ensure that the [Joint OECD and World Bank Seminar] focused on use of PPPs for poverty issues. We were initially dubious that this was appropriate but he convinced us that this was an important potential use of PPPs and the end-result shows that his judgment was sound"
Dr. Ifzal Ali. Chief Economist (Asian Development Bank) - "….I would like to place on record the contributions and assistance provided by Yonas Biru in adopting innovative approaches. He has provided yeoman service as we have grappled with various issues pertaining to the Poverty PPPs."
Mr. Martin Ravallion (the head of the Bank’s poverty work): "Yonas….As you realize I am sure, I think the Poverty PPP work is a very important task for the Bank, and I am impressed with the progress you and your team have made so far."
Shaida Badiee (Mr. Biru’s Supervisor): Email addressed to a senior program manager at UK DFID): "On the ICP and dissemination of the potential messages from the new poverty PPP data, Yonas Biru will be our contact point from our side. Yonas will also be keeping the communications lines open with Martin Ravallion and his team as well as with Eric Swanson and the WDI team."
Mr. Biru managed a paper prepared by Professor Angus Deaton that has opened a new ground in the poverty PPP work. For this work he raised substantial funds and commissioned the study and coordinated the work.
For ten years, Mr. Biru was responsible for the Bank’s poverty PPP work. However, when the Bank published a supplement to WDI on poverty PPP, his name and leadership role was credited a Caucasian manager who had nothing to do with it. Dr. Biru was not even mentioned in the acknowledgments section when people who had marginal contributions were credited as contributors.
He cannot claim in his CV that he led a pioneering study in the poverty PPP work that has been adopted in all regions of the world by all development agencies when his name is not even mentioned in the Bank's flagship publication as a contributor, much less as its manager.
EVIDENCE SET III: TESTIMONIALS
There are two dozen testimonials from World Bank staff, consultants and senior international officials testifying Dr. Biru's leadership roles in various areas. The following are five examples.
Professor Kenneth D. Walsh, World Bank Senior Consultant - “My colleague Dr. Sawhney and I had never met or even heard of [Mr. - the person who was credited for managing our work] until after the new method [for global construction cost comparison] was developed. Any statement that [Mr. XX] initiated, managed and guided the development of the new method and its implementation would be categorically false. Mr. Biru was the one who initiated, managed and guided it.”
Mr. Steve Burdette, World Bank Senior Consultant - “From initial contact through contract negotiations and completion of the contract to develop a new methodology for machinery and equipment survey, Mr. Biru directed my assignment. My first interaction with [Mr. XX] was after the methodology was fully developed and implemented in all regions.”
Dr. Sultan Ahmad, Dr. Biru’s former supervisor, World Bank - “I find it disheartening to see one of the most hard-working colleagues I had worked with being robbed of his lifelong hard work and stellar personnel record. It defies logic and violates human decency on every level”
Mr. Jerzy Rozanski, Senior Officer, World Bank - “I have been with the World Bank long enough not to be surprised by the blatancy of racial discrimination. What I find unimaginable is the Bank’s brazen action to go as far as deleting Yonas’ title from World Bank publications and tampering with his employment record. Allowing this to stand would be a travesty”
Dr. Mohamed Al Badrawy, UN Regional Coordinator - “I was dismayed and saddened to see that Mr. Biru was not recognized as Deputy Global Manager and Team Leader in the World Bank’s Global Report when he is given appropriate recognition for his leadership role by other international agencies.”