Breather for Adesina as AfDB Board Bars Fresh Probe

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•Says Ethics Committee performed role in accordance with applicable rules

By Bennett Oghifo with agency report

The Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has foreclosed the possibility of reopening the probe of the bank’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

At a meeting on Thursday in Cote D’Ivoire, the body snubbed the independent investigation demanded by the United States of America and upheld the decision of the bank’s Ethics Committee in favour of Adesina.

In a communique signed by the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors, Ms Niale Kaba, the Board further decided that an independent reviewer should take a look at the process by which the Ethics Committee reached its decision on Adesina.

It stated that the Board of Governors had fully fulfilled its obligations in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said resolution.

The communique reads: “The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rules 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 authorise 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.”

Adesina 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.

In a letter signed by Steven Mnuchin, its treasury secretary, the US government said it had “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process”.

However, several stakeholders, including 15 ex-presidents of African countries, have voiced their support for Adesina.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also assured Adesina of his support.