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Adesina’s Win: A Spit In The Face Of The US?

On Thursday, August 27, 2020, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina was re-elected for a second term.

All 78 electorates voted for Nigeria’s Adesina despite the corruption allegations levelled against him by the United States of America.

US calls for an independent probe of Akinwumi Adesina

Earlier this year, the United States called for investigations into the activities of Adesina.

This was coming after a group of anonymous staff accused Adesina of multiple cases of abuse and breaches of the bank’s code of ethics. The allegations include various cases of alleged breaches of the code of conduct, unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activity. The unnamed staff said these accusations affected the confidence in the integrity of the bank.

Further accusations stated that Adesina had appointed questionable people into certain offices and also given contracts to his cronies in violation of the bank’s statutory and ethical rules.

Adesina consistently said he was innocent and was subsequently cleared by the bank’s Ethics Committee of all charges brought against him. However, the whistleblowers said they did not have faith in the African Development Bank to conduct an independent investigation and therefore asked for an independent body to probe the matter.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin personally signed a letter to the board rejecting an internal investigation that cleared Adesina.

Besides the core 54 African countries, the US is one of the 27 non-regional members of the AfDB. The United States government is the biggest non-African shareholder of the AfDB.

Time of accusations

Adesina was facing investigations at a time when he was canvassing votes for a second term as president of the AfDB.

Due to this most experts said it will affect his candidature and possible re-election.

But to the surprise of many all 78 electorates voted for Adesina.

A spit in the face of his accusers?

The US may not be feeling good about Adesina’s re-election since they had called for an independent probe that did not happen. The same may apply for the anonymous staff who filed the initial complaint against the AfDB president.

However, all 78 electorates may have voted because of what they know from the outcome of the investigation and also from the track record of Adesina.

He delivered the Bank to a gain of AAA ratings from all the four notable global rating agencies. Adesina is also credited with the Africa Investment Forum initiative and increasing shareholders’ capital from US$93billion to US$208billion last year.

He has also been celebrated by all 55 African Heads of State and governments including some critical non-regional members of the Bank as the Bank was rated to be at par with the World Bank, and exceeded the world bank in some parameters.

The Nigerian president, Mahamadu Buhari, also wrote personally to all African leaders supporting Adesina’s candidature.

These may be a few reasons why he won. The US and the anonymous accusers may not be happy but the electorates have decided.


Article by Magdalene Teiko Larnyoh

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