Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President, AfDB

15 Ex-African leaders support AfDB President, urge caution over US call for fresh probe

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In a camaraderie of some sort, former Presidents of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan have joined 13 other former African leaders in supporting Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), following a call for independent investigations into his administering the AfDB.

Chief Obasanjo, in a statement by his media aide to journalists, stated the past African leaders extolled the works of Dr. Adesina, while urging caution in regard to the allegations levelled against him.

While affirming the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the former Nigerian President stated the African continent is facing an unprecedented challenge.

At this time, all hands must be on deck to tackle the common foe, he submitted.

The statement said: “The African Development Bank (AfDB), under the leadership of its President, Dr. Adesina Akinwumi, has been doing a remarkable job in steering the organisation.

Flashback – L-R: Former President Obasanjo, Dr. Adesina, WFP Chair and ex-Ghanaian President John D. Mahama, when the AfDB President won the 2017 World Food Prize, in Des Moines, Iowa, United States.  Photo: Reuters

“The Bank announced a $10 billion crisis response facility to support countries in Africa. The Bank also successfully launched a $3 billion “Fight COVID-19 social bond, the largest ever US dollar denominated bond in world history. Powered by his vision and leadership

“The shareholders of the Bank from 80 countries all approved a general capital increase of $115 billion for the Bank, the largest in its history since establishment in 1964.

“The Bank has been doing a lot for women, with a $3 billion fund to provide access of finance to women, supported by G7 countries and Africa.”

The statement added that “across the continent, the Bank’s presence and work have been highly visible and impactful.

“In less than five years, the Bank’s High 5 agenda has impacted over 333 million people, from access to electricity, food security, access to finance via the private sector, improve transport and access to water and sanitation.

“The Bank has maintained its stellar AAA rating among all global rating agencies. The shareholders of the Bank have all played very important roles in supporting the Bank to achieve these impressive results.”

Recall that the former Presidents raised concerns over alleged violations of the Bank’s code-of-conduct, the premise upon which the United States (US) is calling for a fresh independent probe.

“This is why we are concerned with the recent developments at the Bank, Dr. Adesina, who some whistle-blowers alleged to have violated the Banks’ Code-of-Ethics, has firmly and consistently declared his innocence regarding these allegations.

“The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, a legal oversight body of the Bank, made up of representatives of shareholders, cleared Dr. Adesina of all 16 allegations, declaring them as baseless and unsubstantiated and exonerated him completely.

“The Chairman of the Board of Governors, based on the report of the Ethics Committee, declared Dr. Adesina exonerated. We understand that the Bank fully followed its rules, procedures and governing systems, which have served it well since African countries established it in 1964,” said the statement.

According to the erstwhile African leaders, “governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organisations.

“In the case of the AfDB, while differences may exist among parties, the best way to address them is to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank.

“To do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard earned reputation, and that of its President.”

The statement further noted: “The African Development Bank is a pride for all of Africa, and its President, Dr. Adesina, has taken the Bank to enviable heights.

“At this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the Bank and its President should not be distracted.

“Differences will always occur but we urge that all shareholders work together. All shareholders should work with mutual respect, and honour the rules and procedures of the Bank and its governance systems that have served it well for 56 years.

“No nation, regardless of how powerful, has a veto power over the African Development Bank, and no nation should have such power.”

The following are the leaders who signed the letter in support of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

H.E Olusegun Obasanjo (President of Nigeria; 1999-2007)

H.E Boni Yayi (President of Benin; 2006-2016)

H.E Hailemariam Desalegn (Prime Minister of Ethiopia; 2012 – 2018)

H.E John Kufour (President of Ghana; 2001 – 2009)

H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia; 2006 – 2018)

H.E Joyce Banda (President of Malawi; 2012 – 2014)

H.E Joaquim Chissano (President of Mozambique; 1986 – 2005)

H.E Tandja Mamadou (President of Niger; 1999 – 2010)

H.E Goodluck Jonathan (President of Nigeria; 2010-2015)

H.E Mohamed Marzouki (President of Tunisia; 2011 – 2014)

H.E Benjamin Mkapa (President of Tanzania; 1995 – 2005)

ENDORSED BY:

H.E Ameenah Gurib-Fakin (President of Mauritius; 2015 – 2018)

H.E Rupiah Banda (President of Zambia; 2008 – 2011)

H.E Kgalema Motlanthe (President of South Africa; 2008-2009)

H.E Jakaya Kikwete (President of Tanzania; 2005 – 2015)

ConsumerConnect recalls that earlier, Obasanjo had called on the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank to ignore calls for an independent investigation of Akinwumi Adesina by Steven Mnuchin, United States Treasury Secretary.

Chief Obasanjo, in a recent communiqué dated May 26, 2020, and addressed to 13 former African leaders had contended that the call negates the ethics of the AfDB.

“If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.

“We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the Bank.

It is also critical that we emphasise the need for the AfDB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa,” Obasanjo stated in the letter.

The President of the African Development Bank Wednesday, May 27 also responded to accusations of corruption and vowed to continue working in the banking group.

Dr. Adesina, in a statement, condemned the “unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation.”

He stated: “I will… continue to work with each and every one of our shareholders…. 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.”

“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.”

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