Independent probe panel clears Adesina for AfDB presidency

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An independent panel of experts, headed by former Irish president Mary Robinson, has cleared the beleaguered leader of the African Bank of Development (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina of corruption, according to a report obtained by AFP.

Adesina, who has had a brilliant public service was jolted in April by a 15-page report from a whistle-blower who alleged that he had dipped his hands in fraudulent activities resulting in poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and clannishness.

The panel of three experts, led by Robinson alongside Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice president Leonard McCarthy, cleared Adesina of all charges alleged by whistleblowers.

Read More: Adesina resigns as AfDB President to allow fresh probe

“The Panel concurs with the Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee,” Monday’s report concluded

The African banking institution and Adesina — who is the sole candidate for the bank’s August’s presidential elections — has been battered by the roller coaster of allegations after the whistle blowers’ complaints were leaked to the media in April.

The former Finance Minister had always stated he was “innocent” of the charges.

Robinson — who led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before serving as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002 — dismissed the 16 whistleblower allegations against Adesina.

The panel did not investigate the charges themselves, as that was not within their mandate.

The AfDB plays an important if the largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors.

The former Nigerian Agriculture Minister had always stated he was totally innocent of the charges, saying they were trumped up.

He said: “the 16 allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”

“My defense ran into 250 pages, and not a single line was faulted or questioned. The law says that report of the Ethics Committee should be transmitted to the Chairman of Governors of the bank. It was done, and the governors upheld the recommendations. That was the end of the matter, according to the rules. It was only if I was culpable that a fresh investigation could be launched. I was exonerated, and any other investigation would amount to bending the rules of the bank, to arrive at a predetermined conclusion”.