The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has been exonerated of any ethical wrongdoings by an Independent Review Panel.

The United States had lodged a complaint against the president which led to the formation of the investigative panel by the AfDB Bureau of Governors.

The panel reviewed the process by which two previous organs of the Bank – Ethics Committee of the Board and Bureau of the Board of Governors – previously exonerated Adesina.

Former and serving African heads, led by an ex-Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, declared support for Adesina.

Members of the panel were Mary Robinson, former President, Republic of Ireland and ex-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Hassan B. Jallow; and Leonard F. McCarthy, former Director of Public Prosecutions and ex-Head, Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa.

Sixteen allegations of ethical misconduct had been levelled against Adesina in January 2020 by a group of whistleblowers. However, the Bank’s Ethics Committee, after a review in March, described the allegations as “frivolous and without merit”. The apex Bureau of the Board of Governors also upheld the findings and rulings of the ethics committee in May.

The independent panel, in its report, stated 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 panel also said, “It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.

The decision clears 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.

Mr. Adesina’s career has been a hugely successful one which featured several achievements including the prestigious World Food Prize in 2017 and the Sunhak Peace Prize in 2019 for global leadership in agriculture and for good governance.

In AfDB, Mr. Adesina ensured of setting up offices in several African nations to get closer to its clients. He oversaw the Africa Investment Forum that has attracted $79 billion in investment interests into projects in Africa between 2018 and 2019. He led a General Capital Increase campaign that culminated in the Bank’s shareholders raising the institution’s capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, in October 2019.

In June and July, Standard and Poors and Fitch Ratings affirmed the ‘AAA’ rating of the AfDB, with a stable outlook.

The AfDB, under Adesina, launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to boost African nations’ ability to tackle the health and economic effects of COVID-19.


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