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Radio Australia

8/12/2000
(00:53:55 AEST)


"The poor are the ones who suffered the most and indeed continue to suffer the most"
Mark Baird, World Bank's Director in Jakarta

World bank says it failed Indonesia's poor

The World Bank says it -- and other international agencies -- failed to protect the interests of the poor in Indonesia during the Suharto years.

Former President Suharto and his family stand accused of corruptly accumulating vast wealth for which criminal charges have been laid.

Karon Snowdon reports, the Bank now acknowledges the role it played in turning a blind eye to corruption.

The Bank's Director in Jakarta, MARK BAIRD, says it was no secret that corruption in Indonesia was widespread.

BAIRD: "It was a topic that was not on our agenda and I think with hindsight this was a mistake. The poor are the ones who suffered the most and indeed continue to suffer the most"

SNOWDON: "Indonesia was singled out by the Bank in its annual report this week as the East Asian country most vulnerable to future economic shocks..in part because of the legacy of the past".

BAIRD: The issue is not just the large sums that might have been siphoned off by the President, but its the petty corruption that really hurts the poor and which is still there."


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