AfDB Corruption Probe: Independent Panel Exonerates Adesina

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AfDB Corruption Probe: Independent Panel Exonerates Adesina
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The independent committee inaugurated to examine the report of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors on the accusations made by the whistle blowers against the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has cleared the bank’s president of any wrongdoing.

The top-class independent review committee headed by Mrs. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, turned in its report on Monday.

The panel was inaugurated in July 2 by the Bureau of Governors of the Bank, following a complaint by the United States, to crosscheck the process by which two organs of the Bank – the Ethics Committee of the Board, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors had hitherto cleared Adesina.

In the top-class Revie Panel were- Mary Robinson, who is a former President of the Republic of Ireland and chair of the panel; Mr. Hassan B. Jallow, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia; and Mr. Leonard F. McCarthy, who is a former Director of Public Prosecutions, former Director for the Office of Serious Economic Offences and erstwhile Head of the Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa. McCarthy also served as the Vice President of Integrity for the World Bank for nine years.


The AfDB chief was stood accused of “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities” by whistle blowers within the bank.

However, the Mary Robinson led Independent Review Committee report submitted on July 27, has totally absolved Adesina of any wrongdoing.  

Robinson said the panel deliberated over the issue through virtual meetings held by Zoom six times in July.

She noted that, “It is our hope that the report will carry every Governor along in resolving this matter, and preserving the integrity of the Bank Group and its governance mechanisms.”

In the report titled: “Report of Panel of High-Level Independent Experts Reviewing Report of Ethics Committee of African Development Bank and Response of President Thereto,” the panel in its concluding observations on the President’s response to the allegations said:

“The Panel is mindful of the fact that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. At the same time, it appears to us to be an undue burden to expect a holder of high office in an international organization, to prove a negative, in the absence of sufficient grounds. An attorney writing on behalf of the President, also argues quite correctly in our view, that a distinction should be drawn between alleged institutional failure at the Bank and the conduct of the president. We have not attached any value to the Dissociation Note in our deliberations. The President has also as part of his detailed submission enclosed 18 annexes, which he believed might be relevant and necessary to make his case and assert his right to due process.

“The Panel explained at the outset that it was dividing its Report into two parts. In the first part, it considered the complaints provided to the Ethics Committee by the whistle-blowers and found that they had been properly considered and dismissed by the Committee. In its second part, it considered, in the interests of due process, the responses of the President. While the Committee was not required to consider and did not, in fact consider, the President’s responses, it was in the interests of fairness and of due process that the Panel be required to do so. As it has explained, the Panel has not passed judgment on the President’s evidence. It has also borne in mind that the whistle-blowers’ complaints were wrongly publicized and that fairness required that the President be heard. It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.”

Source: ThisDay

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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