AfDB: Ireland’s Former President, 2 Others Take Over Adesina’s Probe

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Kolawole Ojebisi 

The African Development Bank has named a three-man-panel to lead an independent investigation into the allegations of corruption levelled against its President, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina.

The panel comprises Mrs Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland, who is also a barrister by profession, Justice Hassan. B. Jallow, a former Attorney General and minister of justice of the republic of the Gambia and Leonard F. McCarthy, a former Director of Public Prosecution and former Director for the office of serious offences in South Africa.

The names were announced in a communiqué issued on Wednesday by the chairperson of the Bureau of the Boards of Governor of the African Development Bank Group, Ms. Niale KABA, and Governor for Côte d’voire and the First Vice chairperson of the Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the AfDB Group, Mr Christian Asinelli.

According to the communique, the panel will be chaired by Mary Robinson and it is expected to submit its report to the bureau within a period of two to four weeks maximum.

The Bureau called the people constituting the 3-man-panel “individuals with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and professional integrity.”

Recall that in a petition by the group of whistleblowers, Mr Adesina was accused of breaching the bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities.”

The group, which noted their allegations were in line with AfDB’s whistleblowing policy, said these activities adversely affected the confidence and integrity of the bank.

The bank, however, found the allegations to be “frivolous” and thus cleared Mr Adesina.

Regardless, the United States government kicked. It 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 dated May 22, 2020 to Ms Kaba, the U.S. government, through the Secretary, Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., Steven Mnuchin, faulted the decision of the committee to totally exonerate Mr Adesina of all allegations, saying it was not yet time to make such a declaration.

The New Diplomat had  reported how the board of governors of the bank caved in to pressure from the US and approved an independent review of the ethics committee’s work.

Mr. Adesina has consistently insisted that he is innocent amid the crisis.

In a recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Adesina, a former Nigerian minister of Agriculture, said the allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”

Earlier, he had said that he is confident that a fair and just process of investigation would establish that he is innocent of all the allegations levelled against him.

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