By George Samuel
The Federal Government and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo have faulted the call by the United States for an independent investigation of African Development Bank (AfDB) President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
Obasanjo and the government urged the bank’s Board of Governors to ignore the U.S.
Adesina was accused of favouritism but was absolved of the allegations by the bank’s ethics committee
The letters were addressed to board chairman, Niale Kaba who is also Cote d’Voire’s Minister of Planning and Development.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed, who wrote on behalf of the Federal Government, said: “The call for an independent investigation of the president is outside of the laid down rules, procedures and governing system of the bank and its articles as it relates to the code of conduct on ethics for the president.”
Obasanjo, in his letter, said: ”Unfortunately, the U.S. government, through the U.S. treasury secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the ethics committee of the board of directors and the chairman of the board of governors of the bank. Instead of accepting the exoneration of the president of the bank, they called for an independent investigation.
“This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank. The US treasury secretary disparaged the bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the bank, which has been in place since 1964.
“This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group. If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.”
Obasanjo said AfDB must remain an “African-focused development bank, rather than one which serves interests outside Africa”.
Also, the bank’s Board of Governors denied reports that Adesina was asked to resign. The board, in a statement by Kaba said no decision has been, taken on the complaint by some shareholders about the Ethics Committee report exonerating Adesina of allegations of ethical misconduct.
The Board pleaded to be allowed to do its work without interference.
The statement reads: “On Tuesday, 26 May, the office of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank Group held a meeting to examine the matter arising from a complaint from the Board of Directors of the Bank, and about that which I received from some shareholders expressing different points of view.
”Following this meeting, several publications in the international press were brought to my attention concerning the content of the deliberations of said meeting. This leads me to make clarifications to avoid any misunderstanding.
“The Office, which I chair, wishes to reassure the public that it has taken up the matter and is treating it with the greatest rigour and with all the seriousness that it deserves. However, the Office informs the public that no decision has been made as falsely conveyed in some publications.
“I must emphasise that there is no institutional crisis within the African Development Bank Group. Above all, in no case has the President of the Bank Group been asked to resign.
“Everyone must allow the Office to do its work and let the process of examining this case take its course. The opinion of all the governors will be sought for its successful outcome.”