AfDB Probe: Nigeria, Ex-African Leaders Back Adesina

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian government has rallied support for the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, in light of recent challenges facing his leadership.

This was contained in a letter by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, urging the board of the AfDB to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Mr Adesina.

Mrs Ahmed called on chairman of the AfDB board of governors, Mrs Kaba Niale, to follow laid down processes to protect and preserve the bank heritage.

She said:  “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.”

In a petition by a group of whistleblowers, Mr Adesina was accused of 20 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, including unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities.

Mr Adesina in his response, maintained that he was innocent of all allegations of fraud leveled against him. He added that he believes a just, transparent and fair process would prove his innocence.

In addition, a coalition of 15 former African leaders jointly issued a caution note to the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) over the controversy surrounding the investigation.

Titled Leadership of the African Development Bank: A Need for Caution, the concerned African leaders said the continent was facing an unprecedented challenge with the COVID-19 and all hands must be on deck to tackle the pandemic saying the AfDB, under the leadership of Mr Adesina, has been doing a remarkable job in steering the organisation, making it highly impactful and visible.

The former African leaders, who jointly signed the caution notice sent to the AfDB Board of Governors include Liberia’s Mrs Ellen Sirleaf Johnson; Ghana’s Mr John Kufuor; Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan; Mr Boni Yayi (Benin Republic); Mr Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia); Mrs Joyce Banda (Malawi); Mr Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique); Mr Tandja Mamadou (Niger Republic); Mr Tunisia’s Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia); Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakin of Mauritius; Mr Rupiah Banda of Zambia; Mr Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa and Mr Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.

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