WED, MAY 27 2020-theG&BJournal- Dr Akinwunmi Adesina Wednesday released a six-paragraph statement insisting on his innocence of allegations brought against him by whistleblowers who questioned his integrity.
Adesina said ‘’I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that I lead and its governance systems, rules and procedures.’’
He called the allegations ‘’unprecedented’’ and an attempt to tarnish his reputation and prejudice the Bank’s governance procedures.
‘’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.
‘’At this time, I remain confident that ultimately and as one collective, the Bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive. I draw great inspiration from my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives have shown that through pain we grow. As Martin Luther King Jnr. once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
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 everyone 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 founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.
Dr Adesina was in early January confronted with allegations of ethical breaches. The allegations were investigated over a three month period by the Bank’s Ethics Committee, made up of Executive Directors representing shareholder nations. In May 2020 Adesina was cleared by the Committee on every single allegation.
The report and conclusive deliberations of the Ethics Committee was subsequently sent to all Governors (Finance Ministers) of the Bank’s 81 shareholder counties, including the United States.
The US rejected the decision of the Committee and has been pushing not only for a fresh probe but wishes to see him out of office.
Dr Adesina had successfully led the Bank’s shareholder General Capital Increase from $93 billion to $208 billion in 2019, effectively becoming the Bank’s first President to take the risk of championing a case for increasing capital for Africa’s development during a first term in office. Surprisingly, the gambit paid off, despite initial strong American opposition.
In 2018, he helped create the Bank-sponsored Africa Investment Forum which in 2018 and 2019 attracted more than $80 billion in infrastructure investment into the continent.