Independent Review Panel Clears Adesina From Ethical Misconduct Allegations

An Independent Review Panel set up to review claims of ethical misconduct against President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has freed him from the allegations.

The panel was set up following a complaint bothering on ethical issues by the United States.

A group of whistleblowers had, in January 2020, raised 16 allegations of ethical misconduct against the AfDB President.

The allegations were reviewed by the Bank’s Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors in March, and were described as “frivolous and without merit.”

The findings and rulings of the Ethics Committee were subsequently upheld by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors in May, which cleared Adesina of any wrongdoing.

But not satisfied with the outcome of these findings, the United States again raised objections and called for a further review.

The Bureau of Governors of the AfDB set up the Independent Review Panel to review the process by which two previous organs of the Bank – the Ethics Committee of the Board, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors – had previously exonerated Adesina.

Members of the high-level Independent Review Panel include Mary Robinson, a former President of the Republic of Ireland; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Hassan B. Jallow; and Leonard F. McCarthy, a former Head of the Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa.

The Independent Review Panel has however said that it “concurs with  the (Ethics) Committee in  its  findings  in  respect  of  all  the  allegations  against  the President  and  finds  that  they  were  properly  considered  and  dismissed  by  the  Committee.”

The Panel, in its report, vindicated Adesina, declaring that it had “considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.”

With the decisive and positive conclusions of the Independent Review Panel, the coast is clear for Governors of the Bank to re-elect Adesina to a second five-year term as President during the annual meetings of the Bank scheduled for August 25-27.

Since taking over at AfDB in 2015, he has introduced several innovative reforms, including a High5 development strategy; a restructuring of the bank, including setting up offices in several African nations to get closer to its clients; an Africa Investment Forum that has attracted $79bn in investment interests into projects in Africa between 2018 and 2019.

He successfully led a historic General Capital Increase campaign that culminated in the Bank’s shareholders raising the institution’s capital from $93bn to $208bn, in October 2019.

In June and July respectively, global credit ratings agencies – Standard and Poors and Fitch Ratings – both affirmed the ‘AAA’ rating of the Bank, with stable outlook.

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