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Nigeria rallies support for AfDB’s Akinwunmi Adesina

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Embattled African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina is getting supports from his countrymen and government as he is being accused of favouritism by United States despite been absolved of the allegations by the bank’s ethics committee.

In separate letters former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, urged the board of the AfDB to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Adesina by the US.

Obasanjo’s letter was addressed to 13 former African leaders including former presidents of South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzanian, Republic of Benin, Liberia and Tunisia.

Ahmed’s letter was directed to the chairman of the Board of Governors of African Development Bank, Kaba Niale, urging her to follow laid down processes to protect and preserve the bank.

Obasanjo said that the call by the US for an independent investigation of Adesina “is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank.”

“The US treasury secretary disparaged the bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the bank which has been in place since 1964,” Obasanjo said in his statement.

Ahmed also shared the same sentiment by faulting the position of the US.

“The call for an independent investigation of the president is outside of the laid down rules, procedures and governing system of the bank and its articles as it relates to the code of conduct on ethics for the president,” Ahmed wrote.

Whistleblowers had accused Adesina of 20 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities”.

But on May 5, the ethics committee of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano, said in its report that Adesina was not guilty on all counts. Adesina in a statement on Wednesday also maintained his innocence.

Unsatisfied with the committee’s report, the United States Department of Treasury called for an independent investigation.

However, Obasanjo said Africa must stand up and not allow its institutions to be unduly controlled by non-African countries.

Obasanjo said the ethics committee of the board of directors chaired by the executive director from Japan and with members who represent shareholder member countries, have evaluated the allegations for three months and the 16 allegations were found to be false.

“If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa,” Obasanjo said.


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