By Hamilton Nwosa(Head, The New Diplomat’s data tracking desk)
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his support and prop-up for president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina on the raging accusations of illegal acts and ethical misconducts leveled against the latter.
In a candid letter signed on Buhari’s behalf by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Federal government of Nigeria enjoined the board of Governors of the AfDB to shun requests by United States, and her allies for an independent and impartial investigation of Adesina’.s alleged infractions
The Federal government counseled the chairman of the AfDB board of governors, madam Kaba Niale, who is also the minister of planning and development of the Republic of Code’ d ‘Ivore, to adhere to laid down internal ethics disciplinary protocols of the AfDB in order to protect the integrity of the Bank.
The letter reads in part: “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.”
Recall that Adesina was accused by a group of whistleblowers of ethical misconducts, inappropriate behavior and sundry ethical violations ranging from unethical conduct, private gain, acting as impediment to efficiency, nepotistic activities, and involvement in political activities and inappropriate acts, among others.
It would also be recalled that the AfDB’s ethics committee had in its investigations given Adesina a clean bill of health, stressing that the allegations are frivolous without evidence-based facts. But this was rebuffed by the group of whistleblowers who accused the ethics team of caving in to Adesina’s alleged arm-twisting tactics and threats. This obviously led to an externalization and escalation of the crisis.
Premised on this, the United States insists that there are “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” which necessitate the need for an in-depth, impartial, transparent and robust investigations of the allegations against the AfDB president as they are grave.
In a compact and carefully worded letter dated May 22, 2020 addressed to Madam Kaba Niale, the U.S. through its Secretary of Treasury, Mr Steven Mnuchin maintained that the findings and outcome of the internal Bank’s ethics team were unacceptable as they amount to attempts at covering up the scandals against Adesina with devastating consequences for the Bank. The United States consequently demanded for an impartial and independent probe that takes into account international finance protocols and governance rules and procedures.
In his reaction, Adesina continues to insist on his innocence: “I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.”
Earlier this week, the Board of Governors of the AfDB aver that its independence would be maintained in-spite of all the raging controversies, saying that steps are being taken to ensure that transparency and accountable conducts are upheld in ensuring that the AfDB emerges stronger from the crisis.