Africa – AfDB - Governance

AfDB president Adesina fights back, denies corruption accusations

APA-Rabat (Morocco)

The president of the African Development (AfDB), Akinwumi A. Adesina, has firmly rejected the accusations of prevarication alleged of wrongdoing raised against him by a group of anonymous “whisteblowers”.

“In spite of the 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 honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank,” he said in a letter sent Wednesday to APA.

He expressed his confidence 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,” he added in the letter.

In recent weeks and over the last few days especially, Adesina said he had 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,” he stressed.

At this time, he said he remained confident that ultimately and as one collective, the Bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive.


“I will, therefore, continue to work with every one 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 and reinforced,” he added.

On Monday, the U.S Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, called for an independent probe into allegations by a group of whistleblowers against the AfDB President.

Rejecting plans by the bank’s board aimed at stopping the investigation on the issue and clearing Adesina of all the accusations, Steven Mnuchin requested “an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator”.

Mnuchin’s request was then addressed to the chairwoman of the bank’s board of governors Niale Kaba, who is also the Planning and development minister of Cote d’Ivoire.

Based on the findings of an investigation by the AfDB ethics board, the Bank totally exonerated Adesina Adesina of the multiple allegations such as “misconduct, arbitrary recruitment, impediment to efficiency, singlehandedly overruling decisions taken by directors, nepotism, political lobbying, use of bank resources for private gains” labelled early April against him by anonymous whisteblowers claiming to be a group of “worried staff”.

Adesina, formerly Nigeria’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, was elected as the 8th President of the AfDB in 2015. The 60-year-old man is the sole candidate in this year’s race at an annual general meeting scheduled for August for another five-year mandate.

 The Panafrican development institution is expected to elect his president in late August. The election which was initially scheduled late May has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Considering the scope, seriousness, and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for bank leadership over the next five years, we believe that further inquiry is necessary to ensure that the AfDB’s president has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders,” U.S Treasury Secretary stressed.

In a long and detailed letter, the whisteblowers accused Adesina of alleged breaches including private gain and preferential treatment in the appointment of many senior officials, particularly his Nigerian compatriots. He is also accused of appointing or promoting people suspected or found guilty of fraud or corruption. The petitioners further said Adesina was granting huge retirement compensations to these people and he would let them act with impunity.

That’s why the whisteblowers had then requested an independent probe into the issue.

After a thorough look into all the allegations mentioned in the petition, the AfDB’s ethics committee concluded that the complaint received from the whistleblowers “was not based on any objective and solid fact”.

As one the world’s leading multilateral development banks, the African Development Bank carried out a huge share capital increase of $US115 billion in October; which is considered as a personal success of its president Adesina.

Shareholders of the AfDB include 54 countries on the continent and 27 others in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.


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