High profile Nigerian economist and banker, Akinwumi Adesina, has been cleared of corruption allegations levelled against him by whistleblowers in the African Development Bank (AFDB). An independent team of experts, headed by Mary Robinson (former Irish President) discredited accusations raised against the Nigerian. Popular for his elegant suits and bow ties, 60-year-old Adesina in 2015, became the first Nigerian to lead the AFBD but as he sought reelection for a second term in office, a 15-page report surfaced earlier this year questioning his credibility at the helm of the bank’s affairs. The report claimed that the beleaguered Nigerian has managed the affairs of the bank poorly, enriched himself with the position, impunity, and favouritism.
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Owing to the weight of the allegations, the bank’s Ethics’ Committee thoroughly investigated the issue and cleared the Nigerian economic expert. Despite the acceptance of the findings of the bank’s Ethics’ Committee by its Board of Governors, the United States (one of the bank’s biggest shareholders) in April 2020, requested a fresh probe into the accusations, rejecting the initial report submitted by the Ethics Committee. Due to the insistence of the United States government, the bank’s Board of Governors authorized an independent review of the report submitted by the Ethics Committee, bringing Robinson who commands rich experience in politics (led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before working with the United Nations as High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002) and her team into the matter.
Robinson, alongside Chief Justice Hassan Jallow (Gambia’s Chief of Justice), and Leonard McCarthy who is currently the World Bank’s integrity vice president, dismissed charges raised against Adesina who commands the full backing of Nigeria and numerous African countries in his bid to be reelected into the post in August 2020.
“The Panel concurs with the 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.”
AFDB Investigative Panel
As the sole candidate for next month’s AFDB presidential elections, Adesina and the African financial institution have been the target of whistleblowers since April despite him repeatedly stating his innocence at the charges. Allegations of impropriety levelled against the former Nigerian agriculture minister by 16 whistleblowers was the height of it all, but he has weathered the storm to the joy of the Nigerian government and the Nigerian people especially in a time when the credibility and decent reputation of Nigerians are being questioned, globally.
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