President Africa Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has said that the allegation against him are trumped up seeking to unjustly taints his image and integrity as well as that of the Bank. But The African Development Bank (AfDB) has succumbed to pressure from the United States Government by ordering a new and independent probe of the bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina.
The board of African Development Bank (AfDB) decided to go for an independent probe after the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, openly rejected the decision of the bank’s ethics committee to clear Adesina of all the allegations brought against him by some whistleblowers.
Akinwumi in a statement personally signed by him said “in recent weeks and over the last few days especially, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support received from around the world. I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that I lead and its governance systems, rules and procedures. In spite of unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation and prejudice the Bank’s governance procedures, I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honoor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.
“I sincerely appreciate the support of the Bank’s shareholders. At this time, I remain confident that ultimately and as one collective, the Bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive. I draw great inspiration from my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives have shown that through pain we grow. As Martin Luther King Jnr. once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. “
“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution. I will therefore continue to work with each and everyone of our shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard earned global reputation; and that our credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced, as we collectively press on to fulfil the mission of our founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development”.
According to a monitored report from Bloomberg, inside sources who want to remain anonymous said that the AfDB, which is Africa’s largest multilateral development financial institution, gave in to the request of the U.S Government, by ordering an independent investigation into the activities of Adesina. Many other foreign governments such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland supported the U.S treasury’s stand on the matter. The U.S Government, in its letter AfDB’s board of directors, appeared convinced that the ethics committee of the bank did not do a proper preliminary investigation in line with standard practices in the other international multilateral financial institutions and the bank’s own rules and procedures. He also raised concerns that the wholesale dismissal of all the allegations without appropriate investigation might tarnish the reputation of the financial institution, presenting it as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance.
This view of the United States Government, who is the second-largest shareholder after Nigeria, corroborates the earlier views of the whistleblowers, who claimed that several top officials of the bank including Adesina, worked towards sabotaging the activities of the ethics committee after initially sitting on the allegations for 6 weeks. The independent probe is coming barely 3 months to the bank’s annual general meeting, where Adesina is expected to be ratified for a second term, having been the sole Presidential candidate. Some of the accusations of the whistleblowers against Adesina include claims of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing relatives and friends to strategic positions, and giving preferential treatment to Nigeria.