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AfDB’s president Akinwumi Adesina cleared by Ethics Committee

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Thursday, 7 May 2020 10:36

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina
Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina , President of the AfDB at the Africa Ceo Forum, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, March 2016 © ERIC LARRAYADIEU/AFRICA CEO FORUM/JA

The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), charged with investigating charges brought by a group of employees of the institution against its president, has issued its report.

According to our information, this report was transmitted to the AfDB governors on 5 May by Kaba Nialé, the Ivorian Minister of Planning and Development. It exonerates Akinwumi Adesina of all charges against him.

READ MORE: AfDB’s latest controversy: accusations against its president, Akinwumi Adesina

Kaba Nialé is the Chair of the Board of Governors, who must now decide whether to close the case or to conduct a new investigation. In a letter accompanying the report, which Jeune Afrique has been able to consult, she proposes “to adopt the conclusions of the investigation by declaring that the president is entirely exonerated of all allegations made against him”.

Strong pressure

The AfDB Ethics Committee is headed by Takuji Yano, the institution’s Japan Executive Director. For several weeks now, he has been under intense pressure. In their complaint submitted to the governors in early April, the whistlebloweres had raised serious doubts about the AfDB’s ability to conduct an independent investigation.

“On 3 March, six weeks after our initial complaint, we concluded that the Ethics Committee was unable or unwilling to conduct a preliminary review of the complaint and that we should not have trusted it. The committee was unable to reassure us of any progress; on the contrary, attempts were made to discover our identities,” they wrote.

According to the French daily Le Monde, Takuji Yano received two very offensive letters from Adesina’s lawyer, Elie Whitney Debevoise. In these letters, dated 10 February and 10 March, Debevoise accused the chairman of the ethics committee of violating the bank’s rules by sending the whistleblowers’ note to the board of directors even before he had “consulted the legal advice department.