The embattled President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), AkinwumiAdesina, has received an all-clear signal for his re-election in August, for another five-year term, following his exoneration by the Independent Review Panel of any ethical wrongdoing.

The three-member Independent Review Panel, launched in July, was made up of former Irish President, Mary Robinson, former Gambian Minister of Justice, Hassan Jallow, and Leonard McCarthy, a former South African Director of Public Prosecutions. The panel in its report cleared Mr. Adesina of all charges alleged by the whistleblowers.

According to the unanimous report of the panel “The Panel concurs with the Ethics Committee’s findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the committee”.

In January 2020, Mr. Adesina had emerged the sole candidate seeking to head the institution until allegations of ethical impropriety, leveled against him by a group of whistleblowers, threw a spanner into the works of his re-election project.

These allegations were reviewed by the Bank’s Ethics Committee in March, and having found them as “frivolous and without merit”, the Committee cleared Adesina of any wrongdoing. The findings and rulings of the Ethics Committee were subsequently upheld by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors, in May.

However, these internal reviews did not suffice for some. The United States, one of the Bank’s biggest shareholders, rejected the AfDB Ethics Committee’s report, questioning the integrity of the internal probe. Subsequently, Steve Mnuchin, US Secretary of Finance called for an independent inquiry.

The decision of the Panel ends a seven-month controversy at the African Development Bank, enabling Adesina to proceed with his re-election for a second term, as President of the Bank.

Reacting to the development, President MuhammaduBuhari, described Adesina’s exoneration as a confirmation of his competence and integrity to lead the institution.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is a distinguished technocrat and a globally-respected development economist. Having won this last battle, the whole of Africa and indeed, the world at large, will be looking forward to Adesina’s re-election, come August.


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