By Adedapo Adesanya
The board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed for an independent investigation of Mr Akinwumi Adesina, its president.
This comes after Mr Steven Mnuchin, US treasury secretary, rejected the investigation and report of the bank’s ethics board which had absolved Mr Adesina of allegations of favouritism.
Bloomberg reports that the board agreed to an independent probe after “several foreign governments backed Mr Mnuchin’s criticism of a bank-led examination into the allegations”.
Shareholders in the bank, including the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, were reported to be among the countries that wrote to the AfDB board backing Mr Mnuchin.
The report also quotes its sources as saying Mr Adesina may be required to step back from the role until the investigation is concluded.
Business Post had reported that in a letter dated May 22 addressed to Mrs Niale Kaba, the Chairwoman of the bank’s Board of Governors, Mr Mnuchin said the treasury disagrees with findings that “totally exonerated” Mr Adesina.
“We have deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process,” Mr Mnuchin had written.
“Considering the scope, seriousness, and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for bank leadership over the next five years, we believe that further inquiry is necessary to ensure that the AfDB’s president has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders,” the bank stated.
Mr Adesina is the sole candidate in AfDB’s election that is scheduled to hold in August, and has been adopted by the African Union, ECOWAS, and several heads of state.
The Abidjan-based bank, in February 2020, rebutted claims made by Mr David Malpass, World Bank president, that some multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank, had a tendency of lending too quickly and in the process, add to Africa’s debt problems.
The AfDB currently has an AAA rating from credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Fitch and S&P Global Ratings.
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