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Independent Review Panel exonerates Adesina, AfDB president

The Independent Review Panel set up by the Bureau of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has exonerated President of the bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, of any ethical wrongdoings.

Akinwunmi Adesina
AfDB president, Akinwunmi Adesina

This is contained in the panel’s report released on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

The Independent Review Panel was constituted following a complaint by the United States to review the process by which two previous organs of the bank — the Ethics Committee of the Board, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors — had previously cleared Adesina.

The three-member Independent Review Panel was headed by Mary Robinson, who is a former President of the Republic of Ireland, and a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Other members were the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Mr Hassan  Jallow, and Mr Leonard  McCarthy, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, and a former Director for the Office of Serious Economic Offences.

The report of the Independent Review Panel stated that it concurred with  the Ethics Committee in its findings in  respect of all the allegations against the President and found that they were properly considered and dismissed.

The panel added that it had considered Adesina’s submissions on their face and found them consistent with his innocence as well as to be persuasive.

A senior management staff at the bank, who pleaded anonymity, said the conclusions of this review panel were decisive and had now cleared the way for Governors of the Bank to re-elect Adesina to a second five-year term as President during annual meetings of the bank scheduled for August 25-27.

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In January, 16 allegations of ethical misconduct were levelled against Adesina by a group of whistle-blowers.

The allegations, which were reviewed by the bank’s Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors in March, were described as “frivolous and without merit”.

The findings and rulings of the Ethics Committee were subsequently upheld by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors in May, which cleared Adesina of any wrongdoing.

By Mustapha Sumaila


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