Arunma Oteh defends Adesina, describes allegations as frivolous

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A former treasurer of the World Bank, Mrs. Arunma Oteh, has described as frivolous the corruption and favoritism allegations against the President of African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

Oteh, who was a former Director General of the Nigerian Securities & Exchange Commission, disclosed this during an interview with CNBC Africa, advised shareholders of the bank to find a way to try and make sure that they stop issue of frivolous allegations aimed at undermining the leadership of AfDB that is trying to make a difference on the continent.

“I’ve known Dr. Adesina, the President of African Development Bank for several years and I can attest to the fact that he’s not only a great leader but he is a man of upmost integrity. When he was Minister of Agriculture, I was the Director-General of the Securities & Exchange Commission in Nigeria, and he and his team worked with my team and I on leveraging the capital markets to transform the agricultural sector of Nigeria.”

According to her the allegation of favoritism is frivolous because the corporate governance in AfDB is rigorous and involve several levels of decision making that cannot be circumvented by a single individual.

“I was in my last role at the African Development Bank – Vice President of Corporate Services, and therefore as Vice President of Corporate Services because I was responsible for human resources, for Information Technology, for Administration, for Procurement, for Language Services, and had administrative oversight of the offices around the continent. So I was very involved in hiring processes in procurement and I can also attest to the fact that these processes are by design and by practice very rigorous and involve several levels of decision making.

“So by the time something gets to the desk of the President of the African Development Bank it’s gone through rigorous processes. There is also feedback mechanisms to continue to ensure that these governance and best practices and processes remain best practice,” she added.

She appealed to shareholders, and particularly ministers of finance who comprises the most senior decision-making body of the African Development Bank, the board of governance to speedily bring closure to the frivolous allegations so that Dr. Adesina and his team continue to do the great work that they’ve been doing in supporting African countries at this critical time.

Recall that On May 5, the ethics committee of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano had exonerated Adesina of all allegations, but the United States was still pressing for an independent probe into charges by whistleblowers — declared as unfounded by an internal inquiry — of alleged embezzlement and favouritism under Adesina, who is bidding for a second five-year term at the helm.