The African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Raila Odinga has welcomed a report that cleared of embattled African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina any wrongdoing in integrity probe.
Adesina had been accused of abuse of office by a whistleblower at the bank, including favouritism in hiring.
The bank’s ethics committee recently dismissed the allegations as baseless after an internal investigation but some officials are now calling for an independent review into the matter.
But Odinga, in a statement on Friday, differed with the individuals further accusing them of an attempt to circumvent the bank’s governing procedures by taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.
The former Prime Minister warned that the move by the President’s critics could bring the institution down if not stopped.
“We reject this attempt to operate outside the laws governing the operations of the bank. If not checked. these manoeuvres can destabilize a well-functioning institution at a time the Continent needs it the most, ” said Odinga.
The United States, AfDB’s second-largest shareholder, had expressed its reservations on the investigations citing integrity issues of the bank’s process.
Odinga says that he has faith in Adesina’s leadership as his record is admirable.
“Under the leadership of President Akinwumi Adesina, the AfDB has made commendable strides, among them being the historic achievement of raising its capital $98 billion to $208 billion in 2020, ” said Odinga.
“President Adesina has prioritized Africa’s agenda 2063 and the Continent’s quest for transformation particularly through investment in Agriculture, Infrastructure Development and Continental Integration, among other areas that are dear to us. Furthermore, the bank has been assessed and awarded a triple-A (AAA), rating by all major global rating institutions.”
The bank’s board of governors had stood with Adesina after the allegations against him were dismissed but said yesterday that it would conduct an independent review of the investigation report in the interest of due process.
In a statement, AfDB’s board said it believed the bank’s ethics committee had carried out its role correctly adding that the review of the investigations would not take more than four weeks.
The board added that the review will not interfere with the bank’s electoral calendar.
“The independent review shall be conducted by a neutral high caliber individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity,” it said.
Adesina is eyeing for a second term and he has already received backing from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
AfDB is a multilateral development finance institution founded in 1964.
The institution comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.