The United States Department of Treasury is calling for an independent probe of allegations leveled against Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Bloomberg reports that Steven Mnuchin, US treasury secretary, rejected the findings of an investigation by the AfDB ethics board which exonerated Adesina of the allegations.
Adesina was accused of trying to ‘Nigerianise’ the bank, as earlier reported.
In a May 22 letter and addressed to Niale Kaba, chairwoman of the bank’s board of governors, Mnuchin said the treasury disagrees with findings that “totally exonerated” Adesina.
Kaba acknowledged receipt of the document.
“We have deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process,” Mnuchin said.
“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.
“Considering the scope, seriousness, and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for bank leadership over the next five years, we believe that further inquiry is necessary to ensure that the AfDB’s president has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders.”
Le Monde, a French newspaper, had reported that some employees of the bank submitted a petition against Adesina.
However, an email seen by TheCable claimed that the petition was spearheaded by an elected staff member to “discredit” Adesina’s candidacy for re-election.
The petition also questioned the awards received by Adesina in 2017 and 2019 of $250 000 and $500 000 from groups in the US and South Korea.
“It is not clear if he received these awards as the President of the AfDB or as a private citizen, but dozens of people, bank staff, executive directors attended the award ceremonies at the bank’s costs,” the email said.
The Abidjan-based bank, in February 2020, rebutted claims made by David Malpass, World Bank president, that some multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank, had a tendency of lending too quickly and in the process, add to Africa’s debt problems.
Adesina is the sole candidate for the bank’s election that is scheduled to hold in August.
The AfDB currently has an AAA rating from Moodys, Fitch and S&P Global Ratings.