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AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina cleared of corruption charges

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President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina has been cleared by an independent review panel led by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland of all corruption allegations leveled against him.

The report of the independent review panel states that it “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.”

The report also states, “It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.”

It will be recalled that in January 2020, sixteen allegations of ethical misconduct were levelled against Mr. Akinwumi Adesina by a group of whistleblowers.

Two months after in March 2020, AfDB’s Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors reviewed the allegations and described them as “frivolous and without merit.”

The findings and rulings of the Ethics Committee were subsequently recognised by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors in May, which declared the president of the bank innocent of corruption allegations raised by some whistleblowers within the bank.

On May 22nd, notwithstanding the views of the aforementioned bodies, the United States, which is a member of the bank, expressed “deep reservations about the integrity of the Committee’s process” and called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations.”

In a letter to the chairperson of the bank’s board of governors, the Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, questioned the committee’s decision to totally clear Mr. Adesina of any wrongdoing.

Mr Mnuchin insisted it was not yet ripe to make such a statement, until an “independent outside investigator of high professional standing” has commenced an investigation into the facts of the allegations.

On June 5, the said chairperson of the bureau of the board of governors, Niale Kaba, said the bureau had agreed to approve an independent review of the committee’s report in the interest of due process and the “need to carry every governor along in resolving it”.

That approval led to the establishment of an independent review panel that has now exonerated Mr. Adesina of all ethical wrongdoing.

The findings of the Independent Review Panel are decisive and now clear the way for Governors of the Bank to re-elect Adesina, who is the sole candidate for the upcoming election, to a second five-year term as President during annual meetings of the Bank scheduled for August 25-27, 2020.

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