THE INJUSTICE AS SUMMARIZED BY SENATOR CHRIS VAN HOLLEN'S OFFICE

(October 13, 2016)

NOTE: [Lines in Blue are not part of the Senator's Report]

SUMMARY AND EVIDENCE

"While serving as Deputy Global Manager, Dr. Biru applied for promotion to Global Manager. In response to his application, he was told that he could not be promoted because 'Europeans are not used to seeing  black man in a position of power."

"In response to his allegations of racial discrimination, the Bank's Appeals Committee [Peer Review Panel] concluded that there 'was no business reasons' for the actions taken against Dr. Biru. The Appeals Committee recommended that the World Bank take 'immediate measures' to provide Dr. Biru with 'a healthy working environment' and "immediately enter into binding mediation.' I have been advised that World Bank management did not pursue any of the recommendations made by the Appeals Committee."

"Dr. Biru asserts that the World Bank retrospectively downgraded his past performance evaluation and official employment record. He has informed me that the Bank deleted his name and leadership roles from its publications and websites."

"Ultimately, the World Bank internally restored Dr. Biru's original, correct personnel record so that it would include his seven years favorable reviews, promotions and titles. However, to the rest of the world, there is little evidence of Dr. Biru's hard efforts and professional accomplishments."



The Senator's report provided evidence including: 

(1) “Dr. Biru's original performance record"; 

(2) "The redacted version" [of the record];

(3) "A list of the damaging citation that remain on the Bank's website that contradicts Dr. Biru’s official performance record.”

It also quoted evidence from other credible and independent institutional reports.

(4) "The Bank's sworn statements both before the World Bank Appeals Committee and its Tribunal are contradictory."

(5) "The Tribunal [not] only allowed instances of false testimony and written submissions to stand, but rendered them material by basing its judgment on them as if they constituted valid evidence. Material statements that were shown to be false were not stricken or rejected but instead became part of the record and the basis of the logic underlying the judgment."

(6) "There is overwhelming evidence [] supporting allegations that the Tribunal willfully and systematically (i) suppresses material evidence, (ii) basis its judgments on irrevocably proven false evidence, (iii) uses different judicial standards for Black and White complainants, and (iv) violates its own rules and articles to deny Black claimants of discrimination the security of justice.

CONCLUSION

"Dr. Biru has not been given the opportunity for a fair, external arbitration of his claims."

"Complicating the situation further, the Tribunal advised Dr. Biru in 2016 that it would not hear any further appeals or request from him, advising that it no longer had jurisdiction after issuing its 2010 ruling. This was despite the fact that the 2010 ruling was based on what is now known to be false testimony."

THE SENATOR SENT THREE DEMANDS TO THE US DEPARTMENT OF STATE

(1) Ensure: "The World Bank restore Biru's name and leadership titles to its publications and website."

(2) Ensure: “The World Bank Withdraw the untrue and defamatory records of [Dr. Biru] from its website"

(3) Ensure: "The World Bank remedy Dr. Biru's situation."

In addition the senator recommended resolving Dr. Biru's case through external arbitration. 

Reply from US Department of State

The Senator's 2016 letter and demands were addressed to Ms. Julia Frifield, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. The Assistant Secretary was well aware of Biru's case since 2013.

In 2013, she was Senator Barbara Mikulski's Chief of Staff, who wrote to the US Department of Justice that Biru's case "is a very serious issue" and asked the Department to "take every appropriate action ASAP." She also wrote to World Bank President Kim, requesting for "an official copy of Dr. Biru's full HR record showing his responsibilities and accomplishments."

In 2016, Ms. Frifield was in a position of power to pressure the Bank. If that did not work, she was in a position of power to trigger the enforcement of two US Appropriations Acts that require the US to block funds to the World Bank until it agrees to use external arbitration for employment disputes. Concerned about the "the broader legal implications" of the case, she refused to take action. Instead, she punted the buck to the US Treasury.

Reply from the US Treasury

The US Treasury was the first US administration that extensively reviewed Biru's case in 2010 and concluded that his request for external arbitration was "warranted."  When the Bank refused to use external arbitration, the Treasury wrote to him stating: "We remain interested in seeking to assure that the Bank provides a fair conflict resolution system for its employees, and are continuing to explore the possibility of pressing it to look harder at external arbitration."

The Treasury approached the Bank and forwarded its reply to the Senator.

In regards to the Senator's demand to reinstate Biru's title and leadership roles in the Bank's website, the Bank provided internet links showing Biru's roles as technical expert, but refused to restore his management and leadership roles. The Bank will not restore his management and leadership record. This is consistent with what one of the Tribunal judges who wrote to Biru: "let bygones be bygones and try once again to rebuild your life and career” from the ground up.

With respect to the Senator's demands to correct the "damaging" defamatory record from its website and remedy the situation, the Bank simply ignored them.

 

Its position as articulated before the Tribunal are as follows:

(1) The false and defamatory record is "on the World Bank internet website where there is a discussion of [Biru's] employment history in the official reported decision in [his] case as published by the World Bank Administrative Tribunal." The Bank claims that re is nothing it can do, since the Tribunal is independent.

(2) In the meantime, it argued before the Tribunal that the Tribunal has no legal basis to reopen the case and remove the false and defamatory record, since it was aware of the perjured evidence when it rendered its judgement.

(3) It argues further that the Tribunal cannot be held accountable for violation of due process because “Allegations of due process violations by the World Bank Tribunal are not cognizable under the Tribunal’s Statute.”

THE US TREASURY'S RESPONSE

"The World Bank has consistently opposed external arbitration... The Treasury will not pursue further the matter of external arbitration of [Dr. Biru’s] case with the World Bank.”

SENATOR VAN HOLLEN'S FINAL STATEMENT TO BIRU

Senator Van Hollen’s office notified Biru regretfully that “The Senator alone does not have the ability to compel" the Obama administration or the World Bank to redress the injustice. The Senator’s staff told Biru that the Senator cannot push his case any further because it would not help to "aggravate" the Obama administration, namely the US Treasury.

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