AfDB board finds middle ground, supports Adesina, grants US a review

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) board, decided to opt for a middle ground resolution of the impasse generated by the demand of the United States, a non-regional investor in the bank, for an independent probe of misconduct allegations leveled against the bank’s President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, whom the ethics committee of the organization has already cleared.
In a statement issued by the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors, Ms. Niale Kaba on Thursday, the board stood its ground on the accuracy of the outcome of an internal investigation that had cleared Adesina of improper conduct, but confirmed it would authorise an independent review of the ethics committee report, as against the US’ “independent probe” in order to please all stakeholders.

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AfDB’s board of governors said it believed the bank’s ethics committee, which produced the report, had carried out its role correctly. But the board has nevertheless agreed to authorise a review.

“The independent review shall be conducted by a neutral high caliber individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity,” it said.

The AfDB chief who never hid his desire to run the bank for a second term, gained the support of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) due to his sterling performance at the bank. In April, Dr. Adesina was confronted with the first resistance to his second term bid in the form of allegations of misconduct by a whistleblower and later a second resistance when the United States rejected an internal process that cleared him of wrongdoing.

The United States, AfDB’s second-largest shareholder, has demanded a new independent probe into the allegations, rejecting the bank’s investigation over reservations about the integrity of the bank’s process.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the leader of the nation with the largest single share, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has voiced his support and gave his backing to Adesina in his bid for a second term as AfDB president.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari meets African Development Bank’s (AfDB) President, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina

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The board however stressed that the review of the investigation would take no more than four weeks considering the organization’s electoral calendar.

Owing to the disquiet in Africa’s number one bank, the board of Governors resolved to review the bank’s whistle-blowing and complaints handling policy at a later date presumably to improve the confidence of all stakeholders in its Internal mechanism.