The pressure from the United States Government has compelled the African Development Bank (AfDB) to allow an independent investigation into its President, Adewumi Adesina. AfDB bowed to the U.S demand despite already conducting its own probe and cleared Adesina of the series of allegations made against him by a whistleblower.
Allegations Against Adesina
AllNews had reported that the U.S demanded for another probe into Adesina following accusations of Adesina using his position as AfDB President for private gain and other unethical conduct. Adesina was accused of being an impediment to efficiency, showing preferential treatment and involving in political activity.
He was said to have also made questionable appointments, and departures from AfDB were also called into question, as well as contracts approved under Adesina - who is contesting for another term as AfDB's President. AfDB was also accused by the World Bank of ignoring international standards for offering loans, thereby, worsening the debt problem of developing countries like Nigeria. These conducts were said to have affected the confidence in the integrity of the bank and breached AfDB's code of ethics.
AfDB Abandon Adesina In Face Of US Pressure
Despite initially conducting an internal investigation by its ethics committee, which cleared Adesina of the series of allegations, AfDB has reportedly ordered for an independent investigation which will be conducted by an external firm as requested by the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, according to Bloomberg.
Mnuchin had rejected the outcome of AfDB's probe, questioning the process of the bank's ethics committee. U.S requests had been supported by other foreign governments such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Now, AfDB is also throwing its weight behind an independent probe despite Adesina denying the allegations.
Adesina Fights Back Against World Bank
AllNews had also reported that AFDB had in a statement, the allegation by World Bank was denied. The largest bilateral bank in Africa stated that the World Bank was the highest creditor to African countries, whereas, AfDB was the least. AfDB had stated that the debt statement made by the World Bank was inaccurate and misleading.
Speaking further about its role in Nigeria and South Africa, AfDB said, “The World Bank, with a more substantial balance sheet, has significantly larger operations in Africa than the African Development Bank. The World Bank’s operations approved for Africa in the 2018 fiscal year amounted to $20.2bn, compared to $10.1bn by the African Development Bank."
Adesina's Second Term At Risk
As the investigation drags on, Adesina's hope for a second tenure as AfDB's President seems to be fading. With the AfDB agreeing to an independent probe, the investigation will likely run beyond May, the same month that AfDB will hold an election and announce their President. The AfDB President will be announced on May 28, 2020, during the Annual Meeting of its Board of Governors.
With the dark cloud hovering above him, Adesina might lose his spot as the allegations might prompt his supporters like President Muhammadu Buhari, Ivory Coast President, Alassane Ouattara and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) to withdraw their backing.