Ex-Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the board of the African Development Bank to ignore calls for an independent investigation of its President, Akinwumi Adesina, by the United States Government.
Obasanjo in a letter dated May 26 to Kaba Niale, Chairman of the AfDB board of governors, urged the organisation to follow laid down processes to protect and preserve the bank.
He asked African leaders to speak against introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedures, laws, rules and regulations of the bank.
He said, “Unfortunately, the United States 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 is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank. 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.
“As Africa faces COVID-19, Dr Adesina again took bold measures to ensure the bank can respond proactively to support African countries and got its board of directors to approve a $10bn crisis response facility to support African countries. In addition, the bank successful launched a $53bn “Fight COVID-19” social impact bond on the international capital market, secured at 0.75 per cent interest rate.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Adesina maintained his innocence as allegations of corruption and other forms of misconduct against him rise.
The United States Department of Treasury had called for an independent of the allegations against Adesina despite the AfDB clearing him of all wrongdoing.
He said, “In spite of unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation and prejudice the bank’s governance procedures, 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.”