The embattled president of African Development Bank (AfDB) has received a verdict of “not guilty” over allegations of impropriety and personal enrichment levelled against him by a group of whistleblowers working in the bank, according to AFP reports.
A three-member Independent Review Panel, which was set up on the insistence of the United States, agreed with the verdict of the Bank’s Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors which had earlier described the allegations as “frivolous and without merit” and therefore dismissed it.
Their position was subsequently upheld by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors of the bank in May which cleared Adesina of any misdemeanour. But the United States rejected the report and insisted on a fresh probe by an independent body, a move considered by many leaders in Africa as a subterfuge by the US to dictate to the continent’s premier development finance institution.
But in the latest report by the Independent Review Panel led by a former President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary Robinson, the panel “concurs with the (Ethics) Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee.” It exonerated Adesina and declared that “It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.”
Other members of the panel include a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Hassan Jallow and Leonard McCarthy, a former Director for the Office of Serious Economic Offences, and former Head of the Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa. He also served as the Vice President of Integrity for the World Bank for nine years.
With the latest vindication of Adesina, the way is now clear for his re-election during the August 25-27 annual meetings of the bank.
Adesina is a highly cerebral technocrat and distinguished development economist. He was the Minister of Agriculture during the Goodluck Jonathan presidency in Nigeria. He was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize in 2017 and the Sunhak Peace Prize in 2019 for global leadership in agriculture and for good governance. Earlier in the year, S&P Global affirmed AfDB AAA rating, with a stable outlook. Rating agency S&P Global also affirmed its ‘AAA/A-1+’ long- and short-term issuer credit assessment of the bank with a stable outlook. The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.