Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has written to at least 12 former African presidents urging them to take a joint stand against demands for an independent investigation of Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.
Obasanjo in his letter to the African statesmen including Thabo Mbeki of South Africa Joyce Banda of Malawi and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzani said an independent investigation goes against the rules and procedures of AfDB which have been in place for decades now.
Obasanjo who spoke glowingly of the achievements of Adesina said the AfDB should continue to serve the interest of Africa and not outside forces.
He said, “Despite these achievements and impressive leadership for the Bank and passion for Africa’s faster-paced development, and his clear endorsement by all of African countries for re-election for his second term, there are some attempts, led by some non-regional member countries of the Bank to frustrate his re-election.
“At issue are some allegations made by some whistleblowers that alleged that Dr. Adesina violated Code of Ethics as President. Dr. Adesina strongly denied the allegations as fabrications and misinformation to disparage and discredit him.
According to Obasanjo, the laid down procedure at the Bank, the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, and Chaired by the Executive Director from Japan and with members who represent shareholder member countries evaluated the allegations over a period of three months.
“The Ethic Committee of the Board of Directors, after examination of each of the 16 allegations of the whistleblowers had dismissed each and all of the allegations as baseless and without any substantiation,”
“The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank following review of the Ethics Committee report exonerating Dr. Adesina concurred with the conclusions and exonerated Dr. Adesina of all the allegations. The Ethics Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Governors had performed their duties as laid down in the Rules and regulations of the Bank,” he noted.
Unfortunately, Obasanjo said, “the US Government, through the US Treasury Secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the Press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank. Instead of accepting the exoneration of the President of the Bank, they called for an ‘independent investigation’. ”
This, he said was outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the Bank.
Obasanjo said the US Treasury Secretary disparaged the Bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the Bank, which has been in place since 1964.
“This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group. 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,” he said.
“I therefore propose that we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank and to recommend that the Board of Governors as well as the Ethics Committee of the Bank should firmly stand by their process and its outcome.”
Calling for a united from, Obasanjo said, “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 ADB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa. I have taken the liberty to offer a draft of the proposed joint statement for your kind review, input and/or endorsement. My aide, Atom Lim, will share the draft statement and collate your respective responses for me.”