Parties who claim to be part of a whistleblower group in the African Development Bank (AfDB) have withdrawn from a petition accusing Akinwumi Adesina, the bank’s president, of unethical practices.
Le Monde, a French newspaper, had reported that some employees of the bank submitted a petition against Adesina.
The report, which was published on Sunday, April 5, said some whistleblowing staff had submitted a petition to the governors of the AfDB.
However, an email seen by TheCable has claimed that the petition was spearheaded by an elected staff member to “discredit” Adesina’s candidacy for re-election.
“This denunciation is made in accordance to (with) the whistle-blowing and complaint handling policy of the African Development Bank,” the email read.
“This note is brought by a group of staff members outraged by the actions of an elected staff member, an executive director who uses a group called Group of Concerned Staff Members to take hostage of our institution.
“We were members of the group called Group of Concerned Staff Members until we understood that we were being manipulated by a group of non-regional executive directors; not for the good governance of the African Development Bank but to discredit the candidacy of the current president for his re-election.”
One of the allegations levelled against Adesina is that he has attempted to Nigerianise the bank.
The petition also questioned the awards received by Adesina in 2017 and 2019 of $250 000 and $500 000 from groups in the US and South Korea.
“It is not clear if he received these awards as the President of the AfDB or as a private citizen, but dozens of people, bank staff, executive directors attended the award ceremonies at the bank’s costs,” the email said.
“If these awards were private, why did the bank support associated costs? If they were awarded to the President of the Group of the Bank were the awards returned to the Bank?”
ADESINA: I WILL NOT BE DISTRACTED
Reacting to the allegations, Adesina wrote: “An article in Le Monde has come to my attention. Following its publication, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous show of support and solidarity I have continued to receive.
“The African Development Bank has a very high reputation for good governance. The Bank was rated as the 4th most transparent institution in the world by Publish What You Fund. I have strong confidence in the governance systems of the Bank put in place by the Board of Governors of the Bank.
“The ethics committee of the board of directors is following its internal review systems and should be allowed to complete its review and work without interference from anyone or the media.
“I am 100% confident that due process and transparency, based on facts and evidence, will indicate that these are all nothing more than spurious and unfounded allegations.
“I will stay calm and resolute. I will not be distracted. No amount of lies can ever cover up the truth. Soon the truth will come out.
“I will continue to discharge my duties and responsibilities as President, with the highest level of professionalism, dedication and unshaken resolve, to lead and support the Bank’s bold mission for Africa’s accelerated development, and to help protect the continent at this time of the COVID19 pandemic.”
RACE FOR SECOND TERM
Adesina, a former minister of agriculture in Nigeria, was elected for his first term as president of the development finance institution on May 28, 2015.
He announced his intentions to pursue a second term in office at the bank’s annual meeting in Equatorial Guinea.
His candidacy has been endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
One of the highlights of his first term in office is securing the approval of shareholders for the largest capital increase in the history of the bank.
The capital increase made the bank’s capital base jump from $93 billion to $208 billion.
In 2017, Adesina won the World Food Prize, a parallel to the Nobel Peace Prize, and co-won the Sunhak Peace Prize, with Waris Dirie, a female genital mutilation and women’s rights activist.
Adesina endowed the cash accompanying both awards to a foundation set up to support agricultural entrepreneurs.