In reaction to the new, independent probe that was ordered by the board of African Development Bank (AfDB) into his activities, AfDP’s incumbent president, Akinwunmi Adesina, said he is not guilty of any wrongdoing. He also vowed to remain in office.
Adesina’s response to the fresh investigation was disclosed in a press statement that he personally and released on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Adesina hit back at ‘unprecedented attempts by some people to tarnish his reputation’ and stated that he would continue to work with all the shareholders. In his statement, Adesina also expressed confidence that a fair and transparent probe would eventually prove his innocence. He said:
“I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.
“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the bank, and rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the code of ethics of this extraordinary institution.”
The AfDB boss also cited his heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives proved that human beings can grow through the pain.
Akinwumi Adesina, who is the first Nigerian to lead the largest multilateral financial institution in Africa and among the top 5 in the world, had previously dismissed the allegations as spurious, unfounded, and blatantly false. The allegations from the whistleblowers border on claims of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing friends and relatives to strategic positions, amongst others.
The U.S treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, in a letter to the AfDB board, expressed serious concerns about the questionable internal investigation and hurried dismissal of the allegations by the ethics committee of the bank. He thereby called for an independent inquiry into the matter, having feared that dismissing the allegations without appropriate investigation would tarnish the reputation of the bank.
In the meantime, it appears that the AfDB President has the support of some leading African countries including Nigeria and South Africa, as he canvasses vote for a second term in office.
As a show of support, a former Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission and current Vice President of the World Bank Group, Arunma Oteh, issued a tweet describing Adesina as a man of integrity and a great leader who remains the best man to lead the AfDB.