AfDB: Ireland’s Former President Joins Panel to Review Adesina’s Probe

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Dike Onwuamaeze

The campaign to stop the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, from getting a second term has taken a new turn following the acceptance of Former President of Ireland and ex-United Nations Human Right Commissioner, Ms. Mary Robinson, to be included among the panel of three that would review the report of the internal Ethic Committee of the AfDB that cleared Adesina of all the allegations leveled against him.

Robinson, who served as the President of Ireland between 1990 and 1997, practiced as a human right lawyer.

This followed the decision of the Board of Governors of AfDB to set up a panel of three “neutral, honest, high-calibre” persons to review the report of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Ethics Committee that cleared Adesina.

The setting up of the independent panel was reportedly instigated by the United States of America.

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Adesina had been under investigation since April by the Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption (PIAC) as well as the Ethics Committee and Audit and Finance Committee of the AfDB following allegations by “concerned staff members” of the bank who accused him of “various cases of alleged breaches of the code of conduct” of the bank in some appointments and several contracts “approved by Adesina’s team supposedly in violation of the AfDB’s statutory and ethical rules.”

According to The Africa Report, 16 of the allegations were documented in English while several others were made in French, including what the employees described as “unusual managerial style,” “dominance of impunity and nepotism,” “chaotic management of human resources” and the “financial waste and lack of budgetary discipline.”

However, a report signed by the Chairman of the Bureau of the Board of Governors of AfDB, Niale Kaba, in May, absolved Adesina of all the allegations “which were thoroughly investigated by the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors.”

However, barely four weeks of absolving Adesina, the board of governors in a dramatic turnaround authorised that an independent body should be empanelled to review the ethics committee report that exonerated Adesina.

This followed the United States’ Department of the Treasury demand for an independent probe of allegations leveled against Adesina.

The Bureau of the Board of Governors said: “The independent review shall be conducted by neutral high caliber individuals with unquestionable experience, a high international reputation, and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the bank’s group electoral calendar into account.

“The bureau agrees that within a three to six months period, and following the independent review of the ethics committee report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the bank’s group whistleblowing and complaint.

“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 future.”

The job of the panel was limited to reviewing the AfDB’s Ethics Committee report and would not involve commencing a new investigation on the allegations that were brought against Adesina by internal whistleblowers in the bank.

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