The board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed for an independent investigation of Akinwumi Adesina, its president. Sources familiar with the issue say Adesina may be required to step back from the role until the investigation is concluded.
This comes after Steven Mnuchin, US treasury secretary, rejected the investigation and report of the bank’s ethics board which absolved Adesina of allegations of favouritism.
Bloomberg reports that the board agreed to an independent probe after “several foreign governments backed Mnuchin’s criticism of a bank-led examination into the allegations”. Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland were reported to be among the countries that wrote to the AfDB board backing Mnuchin.
In a May 22 letter addressed to Niale Kaba, chairwoman of the bank’s board of governors, Mnuchin said the treasury disagrees with findings that “totally exonerated” Adesina.
“We have deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process,” Mnuchin said. “Considering the scope, seriousness, and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for bank leadership over the next five years, we believe that further inquiry is necessary to ensure that the AfDB’s president has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders.”
Le Monde, a French newspaper, had reported that some employees of the bank submitted a petition against Adesina who is the sole candidate in AfDB’s election that is scheduled to hold in August.
The Abidjan-based bank, in February 2020, rebutted claims made by David Malpass, World Bank president, that some multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank, had a tendency of lending too quickly and in the process, add to Africa’s debt problems.
The AfDB currently has an AAA rating from Moodys, Fitch and S&P Global Ratings.
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