Following a subtle threat from the US ordering a new and independent probe of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, Board of the bank has finally succumb to the pressure.
According to inside sources, the AfDB, which is Africa’s largest multilateral development financial institution, gave in to the request of the U.S Government, by ordering an independent investigation into the activities of Adesina.
The board decided to go for an independent probe after the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, openly rejected the decision of the bank’s ethics committee to clear Adesina of all the allegations brought against him by some whistleblowers.
The U.S Government, in its letter AfDB’s board of directors, appeared convinced that the ethics committee of the bank did not do a proper preliminary investigation in line with standard practices in the other international multilateral financial institutions and the bank’s own rules and procedures.
He also raised concerns that the wholesale dismissal of all the allegations without appropriate investigation might tarnish the reputation of the financial institution, presenting it as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance.
This view of the United States Government, who is the second-largest shareholder after Nigeria, corroborates the earlier views of the whistleblowers, who claimed that several top officials of the bank including Adesina, worked towards sabotaging the activities of the ethics committee after initially sitting on the allegations for 6 weeks.
The independent probe is coming barely 3 months to the bank’s annual general meeting, where Adesina is expected to be ratified for a second term, having been the sole Presidential candidate.
Prior to the AfDB’s decision to order a fresh probe, S & P analyst, Alexander Ekbom, was quoted to have said that “If there are questions from major shareholders on the appropriateness of an internal process, clearly it’s not harmful if that is put into a different light and looked at from the outside world with fresh eyes.”
It can be recalled that part of the accusations of the whistleblowers against Adesina include claims of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing relatives and friends to strategic positions, and giving preferential treatment to Nigeria.