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Politics The African Development Bank launches an independent investigation into its president

05:00  05 june  2020
05:00  05 june  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected plans by the African Development Bank ’s board to end an investigation into its president , Akinwumi Adesina, and called for an independent probe into allegations against The bank also launched a billion crisis-response facility for African nations.

African Development Bank ( AfDB ) president Akinwumi Adesina. File photo. INTERNATIONAL - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected plans by the African Development Bank ’s board to end an investigation into its president , Akinwumi Adesina, and called for an independent probe

Le président de la Banque africaine de développement Akinwumi Adesina à Abuja (Nigeria) le 27 juillet 2019 © PIUS UTOMI EKPEI The president of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina in Abuja (Nigeria) on July 27, 2019

The African Development Bank (ADB) announced on Thursday evening the launch of an independent investigation into accusations of prevarication against its president, the Nigerian Akinwumi Adesina, the only candidate for re-election for a new term but whose position appears increasingly weakened.

After procrastinating for two weeks, the Pan-African development institution, which is headquartered in Abidjan, finally gave in to the demands of the United States, dissatisfied with the internal investigation which had completely exonerated Mr. Adesina of serious accusations made by group of "whistleblowers", such as "unethical behavior, personal enrichment and favoritism".

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Africa has always been low on the U.S. foreign-relations priority list -- the world’s poorest continent accounts for less than 2% of its total two-way trade. And the Nigerian government has locked horns with the U.S. over its call for an independent probe into allegations that African Development Bank

Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission, joined senior officials from Nigeria, South Africa and And the Nigerian government has locked horns with the U.S. over its call for an independent probe into allegations that African Development Bank President Akinwumi

"The Board (of the AfDB Board of Governors) Agrees to Authorize an Independent Review" on the "Allegations" of Whistleblowers Targeting Mr. Adesina, Council Office Chair Nialé Kaba said in a statement , also Ivorian Minister of Planning and Development, following a new Bureau meeting on Thursday.

This "independent review must be carried out by a neutral, honest, high caliber person, with indisputable experience and a proven international reputation, within two to four weeks maximum, taking into account the electoral calendar" of the Bank, which must elect its president at the end of August, specifies Ms. Kaba.

Mr. Adesina, elected in 2015 as head of the AfDB, one of the five main multilateral development banks in the world, has been the subject of a series of embarrassing accusations since the beginning of the year, disclosed in the press in April.

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The African Development Bank Group ( AfDB ) or Banque Africaine de Développement (BAD) is a multilateral development finance institution.

In a detailed report, the whistleblowers criticize him for his favoritism in numerous appointments of senior officials, in particular of Nigerian compatriots, for having appointed or promoted persons suspected or convicted of fraud or corruption, or even having granted them comfortable severance packages without sanctioning them.

Charges refuted en bloc by Mr. Adesina, 60, the first Nigerian to direct the AfDB since its creation in 1964, who has repeatedly claimed his "innocence", and who was quickly exonerated by the Bank on the strength of '' a report from its internal ethics committee.

- "Mystification and smoking" -

But the United States, the second shareholder of the AfDB after Nigeria, demanded at the end of May the launch of an independent investigation, calling into question, in a scathing letter from the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the work of the ethics committee, and causing a serious crisis in the pan-African institution.

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President of the African Development Bank AFDB Akinwunmi Adesina is in the news ! A brewing crisis of succession at the Apex lending institution has put the h Africa ’s largest economy has opposed calls by the US treasury for an independent probe into whistle-blower allegations that

"Considering the extent, gravity and accuracy of the allegations against the Bank's sole leadership candidate for the next five years, we believe that further investigation is necessary for the support of the President of the AfDB and the full confidence of the shareholders, "wrote Mr. Mnuchin.

The decision to launch an independent investigation was taken "with the aim of reconciling the different points of view", specifies Ms. Kaba.

While his re-election seemed assured six months ago, with the support of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States, and following a giant capital increase of 115 billion dollars accepted in October 2019, Mr. Adesina's position now appears increasingly fragile.

This charismatic man with a flamboyant style is nevertheless fighting like a handsome devil, vilifying his adversaries, praising his record and seeking all possible support.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari publicly expressed his support for it on Tuesday after receiving it in Abuja. An economist specializing in development, Mr. Adesina was Minister of Agriculture in his country before presiding over the AfDB.

He also received the support of a dozen former African heads of state who signed a joint letter.

On the other hand, the non-African shareholders of the AfDB seem more circumspect about its action, according to observers.

The AfDB has 80 shareholder countries (54 African and 26 non-African, European, American and Asian). It is the only African institution rated triple A by financial rating agencies.

Internally, the personnel management led by Mr. Adesina has caused a stir for five years, leading to the departure of many managers.

In an open letter dated May 30, a "group of African AfDB staff members" harshly criticized his management, accusing him of "hoax and smoking", that is, to communicate more than to act , and to have "weakened" the Bank.

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