The United States of America (USA) through its Department of the Treasury has written to the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) seeking an independent probe into allegations of ethics abuses by its president, Akinwumi Adesina.
According to the AFP, US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin expressed “deep reservations” about the outcome of an internal inquiry which recently cleared Adesina.
In the letter dated May 22, 2020 and addressed to the chair of the AfDB’s board, Ivorian Planning and Development Minister Niale Kaba, Mnuchin said:
“We urge you to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator of high professional standing. We fear that wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance. This is a serious risk when we need strong confidence in the AfDB to play an influential role in the current global economic and health crisis, and when many shareholders are seeking legislative support for payments under the recently-concluded General Capital Increase.”
The allegations against Adesina emanated from whistleblowers’ 15-page report accusing Adesina of embezzlement, preferential treatment for Nigerians in senior appointments and the promotion of people suspected or convicted of fraud and corruption.
However, the bank’s ethics committee conducted an internal inquiry and dismissed the allegations against Adesina on the ground that the complaint “rested on no objective, solid facts.”
In his own reaction, Adesina described the allegations as “spurious and unfounded” and “blatantly false.”
However, in a new letter to Bank Governors, a group of anonymous “concerned staff members of the AfDB” denounced the internal probe that cleared Adesina, saying it was tainted by “irregularities and manipulations.”