Alleged graft: I’m innocent, AfDB President, Adesina insists


As the United States presses to proceed with a fresh independent probe of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina over graft allegations and other ethical breaches, the regional bank chief on Wednesday insisted he is innocent of all accusations circulating against him.

Adesina, who in a statement yesterday denied stepping down from office said “inspite of unprecedented attempts by some elements in the organisation to tarnish my reputation and prejudiced the bank’s governance procedures, I maintain my innocence with regard to the trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity as well as the reputation of AfDB.

“In recent weeks and over the last few days especially, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support received from around the world. I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that I lead and its governance systems, rules and procedures.

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“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.

“I will therefore continue to work with each and every one of our shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard earned global reputation; and that our credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced, as we collectively press on to fulfill the mission of our founder to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.”

His statement came as the  bank’s board succumbed to pressure from the US government for “a new and independent probe” of his alleged culpability in graft allegations leveled against the bank under his watch. The U.S. government, the second-largest shareholder after Nigeria, claimed that several top officials of the bank, including Adesina, worked towards sabotaging the activities of the Ethics Committee after initially sitting on the allegations for six weeks.

The bank’s Board of Governors cleared him of the allegations after its ethics committee looked into the matter.

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Informed sources indicated that the news first carried by Bloomberg to the effect that the AfDB President had stepped aside for so-called ‘independent investigation” was false. “The Bank’s Board of Governors has not conceded to America’s demands, the source stated, adding that to do so would be to concede to the implied position that the Bank’s internal structures are compromised. “The full course of the Bank’s internal framework was resorted to with the United States in tow, and the Whistleblowers’ allegations against Adesina were declared to be spurious”. “Now the three American officials involved in this show of shame have resorted to thuggery and fake news as their medium for besmearing an otherwise respected institution”.

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The independent probe is coming barely three months to the bank’s annual general meeting, where Adesina is expected to be ratified for a second term, having been the sole Presidential candidate.

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