By Jimoh Babatunde
The call by the United States government for a fresh and in-depth investigation into the allegations against the President of African Development Bank, Mr Akinwumi Adesina, after he was cleared of all allegations of impropriety and fraud by the ethics committee recently, is seen as a plan to destabilise the bank.
On May 5, the ethics committee of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano, said in its report that Mr Adesina was not guilty on all counts. Mr Yano is a Japanese executive director charged with the responsibility of investigating allegations by some concerned employees against the official.
The committee described the allegations that he (Mr Adesina) violated the code of conduct of the institution as “spurious and unfounded”.
But the U.S. government, in a letter dated May 22, 2020, to Ms Kaba, through the Secretary, Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., faulted the decision of the committee to exonerate Adesina of all allegations, saying it was not yet time to make such a declaration.
Some of the African countries are saying there was no need for the probe except the US was saying Adesina was guilty of the allegations.
But a source close to the Dr Adesina said last night that he remained calm, resolute and would not be distracted as all 55 African Heads of State and Governments as well as critical non-regional members of the Bank have applauded the achievements of the Bank in the last five years. The source said the ultimate objective of the call by the US was clearly to destabilize the African Development Bank and “this is a typical colonial agenda.’’
“They have watched with disdain, the steady rise of the Bank in global reckoning and they want to systematically assault the Bank’s AAA rating.
“The AfDB has been declared to be at par with the World Bank and on some parameters to even exceed the World Bank by independent rating agencies. So, the Americans have set out to create a ‘phoney crisis’, based on petty, roundly unsubstantiated and in some cases ridiculously idiotic allegations.
“One of such is the fact that the Bank’s Director of Agriculture is the brother-in-law to the Bank’s President.
‘’How, with all their sophisticated intelligence gathering, they cannot determine that Dr. Bunmi Oloruntoba is the brother-in-law of the President who resides in the USA, and not the wife of Dr. Martin Fregene.
“It is, therefore, tantamount to gross negligence and demonstrates the level of desperation and near thuggery for a whole country’s Treasury Secretary to write supporting such silly allegations, let alone that it is the American Treasury Secretary.’’ He added that the plan was to decimate African development bank triangle. Undermine AAA who is US trained and globally respected and who has made the Bank a world class bank, which they see as competition with the World Bank and the US agenda to control Africa; destroy through fake news the Bank by lies and innuendoes and then take full control. The question is whether African leaders will let them!
“African leaders are not stupid, they can see the game being played. The AfDB is having the best run in its history.” Yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning, Equatorial Guinea, Cesar Mba Abogo, threw his weight behind Adesina.
He said: “We are certainly satisfied with the Bank’s performance and the visionary leadership of its President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
“I would like to commend the credible and exhaustive work of the Bank’s Board-constituted Ethics Committee, chaired by the Takuji Yano. The committee’s report referencing sixteen allegations by whistle-blowers against Dr Adesina and other executives of the Bank, unequivocally stated that “these allegations are not valid and should be rejected.” Concerning the whistle-blower’s rejection of the conclusions of the Ethics Committee, ‘’we express our deep concern about how this not only undermines and affects Dr Adesina’s credibility but is also contributing to the erosion of the bank’s credibility, especially the strength of its internal institutions.
‘’We believe that this is just the opposite of what humanity needs at this time when we are facing an unprecedented crisis. We, therefore, echo the call by the chair of the Board of Governors, Honourable Niale Kaba, for “restoring peace and serenity within the bank. ‘’In conclusion, and as a testimony of my support for Dr Adesina and all the Bank executives who are personally and adversely affected by this situation and unfounded allegations, a few verses penned by John Donne (and popularized by Hemingway) come to mind.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod is washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or thine own were: Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and, therefore, never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
“Today in the African Development Bank, the bells toll not for Dr Adesina but for Africa … for humanity.
In its petition, the concerned staff accused Adesina of 20 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities.”
The group, which noted their allegations were in line with AfDB’s whistle-blowing policy, said these activities adversely affected the confidence and integrity of the bank.
Jeune Afrique, which said in a report that it saw the board’s letter that exonerated Mr Adesina, quoted the chair of the board of governors, Niale Kaba, as saying the committee proposed “to adopt the conclusions of the investigation” after due consultations.