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By Al Kamen
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There's some disgruntlement amongst the grossly overpaid World Bank crowd as the time approaches for calculating annual salary increases for 2007. Seems they're finding out that Shaha Riza, who's been romantically linked to bank President Paul Wolfowitz, has done exceptionally well in terms of salary in the last 18 months -- and she doesn't even work there.

Riza, a British citizen who was born in Tunisia and raised in Saudi Arabia, worked as a communications adviser in the bank's Middle East and North Africa department before she was detailed to work in Karen Hughes's public diplomacy shop at the State Department in September 2005 -- while remaining on the bank's payroll.

She left six months after Wolfowitz took over at the bank.

Just before leaving, she was promoted to a managerial-level job, which we're told is somewhat rare. Bank records obtained by the Government Accountability Project indicate that, before Riza's promotion, she was earning $132,660.

Under bank rules -- remember, she is still on its payroll even at State -- the highest raise she should have gotten in her new job would be about $20,000, according to GAP's calculation. Instead, she got a $47,340 raise, which put her salary at $180,000.

This fiscal year, while still at State, Riza got a raise of $13,500, bringing her up to $193,590, which is $7,000 more than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes. Since she is at State and not the bank, the bank's staff rules should have allowed only about half that, GAP said. Even if she'd been at the bank and gotten the highest performance rating compared with other bank employees, she could not have gotten that big a raise, GAP said.

So we asked Wolfowitz spokesman Kevin Kellems who's responsible for these whopping raises.

"All arrangements concerning Shaha Riza were made at the direction of the bank's board of directors," Kellems said.

Well, maybe the directors felt guilty because they made her leave the building after Wolfowitz took over?

Thanks, I've Already Met Your Boss

Speaking of the bank, Marwan Muasher, a former foreign minister, deputy prime minister and chief of staff to King Abdullah of Jordan, last week settled in to his new job there as senior vice president for external affairs.

Muasher, acting through a real estate agent, also bought a lovely home in Northwest Washington. (Quick Loop Quiz! So now, a top employee of a key Iraq war architect is living in the home he just bought from . . .? Ah, you guessed it. Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, of course.)

Speaking of the Bushes

The Brothers Bush are having a rocky time these days dealing with the college crowd. Brother Jeb, former governor of Florida, just found out the University of Florida had decided he will not be receiving an honorary degree.


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