For the second time, the President of African Bank of Development (AfDB), Nigeria’s Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, has been cleared of charges of corruption and favouritism alleged by whistleblowers. On the insistence of U.S., an independent panel of experts headed by former Irish President Mary Robinson was inaugurated which has cleared Adesina. The 60-year-old charismatic and eloquent speaker and ex-Minister of Agriculture, became the first Nigerian at the helm of AfDB in 2015. Earlier this year, a spurious 15-page report claimed that under his watch the bank had been characterized by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.
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. “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,” the report said.
The African banking institution and Adesina — who is the sole candidate for the bank’s August’s presidential elections — has been battered by the rollercoaster of allegations after the whistleblowers’ complaints were leaked to the media in April. The former Nigerian 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 largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors