The United States Government has rejected plans by the African Development Bank’s board to end an investigation into its President, Akinwumi Adesina, and called for an independent probe into allegations against him.
Some staff of the AfDB had 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”.
On May 5, the ethics committee of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano, said in its report that Adesina was not guilty on all counts.
But in a letter by US Treasury Secretary, Stephen Mnuchin dated 22nd May and addressed to Niale Kaba, chair of AfDB’s board of governors, rejected the findings by the ethics committee of the bank that “totally exonerated” Adesina.
However, Kaba confirmed receipt of the letter but refused to make additional comments.
The involvement of the US Treasury, which owns the largest non-African stake in the bank, is coming a fortnight after the ethics committee claimed it found no proof to back accusations of favouritism against the AfDB President.
Adesina, who has consistently denied the allegations, is the sole contender for the election into the AfDB’s presidency timed to hold at its annual general meeting this August.
“We have deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process. Instead, we urge you to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator of high professional standing,” Mnuchin said.
The US has a 6.5 per cent stake in the lender, the largest shareholding after Nigeria as of November 2019, according to the AfDB’s website.
US criticism of the bank’s internal processes follows comments by World Bank President, David Malpass, in February that multilateral lenders including the AfDB tend to provide loans too quickly, and, in the process, add to African nations’ debt problems.
The bank rebutted the statements as “inaccurate and not fact-based”.