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AFDB crisis: We’ve not asked Adesina to step down — Board

President of African Development Bank (AFDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
President of African Development Bank (AFDB) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

The Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development (AfDB) Thursday debunked reports that it has asked the Bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina to face a fresh probe.

The Board’s chairman, Madame Niale Kaba, in a statement made available to Daily Trust Thursday said it has not taken any fresh decision [on Adesina] as falsely reported in the media.

She said: “The Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank met on Tuesday, 26 May, 2020 to consider the matter arising from a whistleblowers’ complaint against the President of the Bank, which was dealt with by the Ethics Committee of Board of Directors of the Bank and for which I received letters from some shareholders expressing various views.

“Following the meeting, my attention has been drawn to several publications in the national and international press regarding the content of the deliberations of the said meeting, and I am compelled to make clarifications in order to avoid misunderstanding.

“The Bureau, which I chair, wishes to reassure the public that it is seized with the matter and that it is treating it with the utmost seriousness that it deserves.

“Further, the Bureau informs the public that it has not taken any decision as falsely conveyed in some publications.

“I must emphasise that there is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group.

“It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position.

“Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign.

“All the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue.”

READ: Nigerians urge Buhari to defend Adesina

Meanwhile, Adesina on Thursday celebrated his 5th anniversary as the Chief Executive of the Africa’s top financial body amidst corruption allegations leveled against him.

In a tweet, the Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development expressed gratitude to the stakeholders in the bank for their support.

The tweet reads: “On this day, May 28th, five years ago, I was elected as the 8th President of the African Development Bank.

“As President, I express my deepest gratitude to all the shareholders of the Bank for your support, and continued support, today and for the future. Thank you all, ” the tweet added.

Daily Trust reports that Adesina’s second term bid is under pressure over corruption allegations leveled against him by some staff of the bank.

Adesina’s travails began when a group of anonymous concerned staff of the bank, riding on the whistle-blowing policy, had in an 18-page petition titled ‘Communication relating to alleged breach of the Code of Ethics by the President of the African Development Bank Group,’ addressed to the Board of Governors of the AfDB, accused Adesina of breaching the code of ethics of the development finance institution.

In the petition written in April 2020, the complainants said they had previously filed a complaint on January 19, regarding cases of alleged breach of the said code of ethics by the AfDB president.

READ: AfDB President, Adesina fights back over corruption accusations

The complaint was filed with the ethics committee of the board of directors through the chair of the committee, ED Yano (Japan), the chair of the audit committee, ED Dowd (USA), and the director for the integrity and anti-corruption department, Mr. Bacarese.

They stated: “We feel it has become our duty to alert you directly about the very serious situation that the bank faces, which could in the short term threaten its very existence if no action is taken.

“Our complaint illustrates various cases of alleged breaches of the code of conduct: unethical conduct, private gain, impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment adversely affecting confidence in the integrity of the bank and involvement in political activity,” the petitioners added.

The group further alleged that the ethics committee failed to act within reasonable time hence the need to escalate it to the governors of the bank.

“On March 3rd, six weeks after our initial complaint, we came to the conclusion that the ethics committee was unable or unwilling to proceed with their preliminary examination of the complaint and that we should not have trusted it.

“The committee could not give us reassurances of any progress, on the contrary, attempts were made to uncover our identities, which should have been protected under the whistle-blowing policy,” they alleged.

Even though Adesina had reportedly “cleared” the allegations levelled against him and therefore to certain extent improved his chances of getting a second term, the United States’ Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, unequivocally objected the purported “in-house” exoneration of the embattled Adesina by the AfDB board.

Analysts believed this might not be unconnected with the position of the whistle-blowers who insisted for the urgent commission of an independent investigation into the alleged excesses of Adesina.

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