President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Nigeria‘s Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has denied any wrong doing in the handling of the affairs of the bank.
Adesina, in a statement, on Wednesday declared his innocence against the allegations levelled against him by a whistleblower in January.
He said “the bank’s institutional framework was solid and efficient” and he stood by it.
He also said he would continue working as the head of the organisation.
Adesina had been investigated and declared innocent of accusations of favouritism and violating the bank’s Code of Ethics by the bank’s ethics committee.
However, the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict of the committee, spearheading a push for an independent probe.
He is supported by Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, which are all stakeholders in the bank.
In Mnuchin’s views the ethics committee did not conduct proper investigations into the allegations, and did not follow international standards and the bank’s rules and procedures in arriving at its decision.
The US claimed that Adesina and several top officials of the bank sabotaged the activities of the ethics committee.
Reacting to “a new and independent probe” of his activities in the bank ordered by the board, Adesina in a statement he personally signed, said: “I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.
“At this time, I remain confident that ultimately and as one collective, the bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive.
“I draw great inspiration from my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives have shown that through pain we grow.
“As Martin Luther King Jnr. Once said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice’.
“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the bank, and the rule of law will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.
“I will therefore continue to work with each and every one of our shareholders to ensure that the AfDB maintains its hard earned global reputation, and that our credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced, as we collectively press on to fulfil the mission of our founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.”
Adesina is accused of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing relatives and friends to strategic positions, and giving preferential treatment to Nigeria and Nigerians.
The independent probe ordered by the AfDB board is coming barely three months to the bank’s Annual General Meeting, where Adesina is expected to get the nod for a second term.
Currently, he is the sole presidential candidate.