SWITZERLAND, JULY 28 – Akinwunmi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has been exonerated after an independent international panel headed by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, cleared him of all allegations.
The United States, which leads a group of powerful, non-African shareholders in the continental bank, had demanded for a fresh, independent investigation concerning whistleblower allegations that the president handed contracts to acquaintances and appointed relatives to strategic positions in the bank, even after an AfDB panel had already cleared him.
The 60-year-old bank chief has repeatedly denied the allegations and said in a May 27 statement that “fair, transparent and just processes” would confirm his innocence.
However, on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the independent committee, which also includes former Gambian Attorney General, Hassan Jallo, and ex-South African Director of Public Prosecutions, Leonard McCarthy, had cleared Adesina, paving the way for his re-election for a second term.
“The panel concurs with the findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the committee,” it wrote in the document dated July 27.
The AfDB is owned by 54 nations on the continent and 27 other countries. The U.S. holds the largest stake after Nigeria, the home country of Adesina, who is the only candidate up for election at an annual meeting expected to hold next month.
Many people in Africa, especially in Nigeria considered the fresh probe a conspiracy. This is because the AfDB has had a sterling five years under Adesina’s leadership. Today, the AfDB is Africa’s biggest multilateral lender and has an AAA rating from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings. The AAA rating denotes the lowest expectation of default risk. They are assigned only in cases of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments.