AfDB Board Authorises Independent Review of Ethics Committee Report

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Adesina Akinwunmi

The Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has authorised an independent review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors on the complaint by whistle-blowers against the President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the sole candidate for the bank’s upcoming election.

The independent review, the board said, will be conducted by “a neutral high caliber individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.”

A communiqué issued after a meeting of the Board of Governors of the Bank, signed by the Chairperson of the Board, Ms. Niale Kaba, said: “The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.

“The Bureau also reiterates that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.

“However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.

“The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high caliber individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.

“The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.”

Addison, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture, had been in the eye of the storm over allegations of impropriety leveled against him by some whistle blowers in the bank.

Despite being given a clean bill of health by the bank’s Ethics’ Committee, some AfDB stakeholders, notably the United States Treasury Department, had rejected the decision and called for a fresh probe.

But prominent men and women on the continent including 15 former heads of governments threw their weight behind Adesina, describing the call for fresh probe as baseless.

Just this week, President Muhammadu Buhari met with Adesina at the State House Abuja and assured him of Nigeria’s support for his reelection.