Despite being cleared of all allegations of impropriety and fraud by a board of directors, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, still has another big hurdle to cross in his bid for re-election into office.
The United States government has demanded that a fresh and in-depth investigation be conducted into the allegations against Mr Adesina using an independent investigator.
On May 5, the ethics committee of the board of directors of the continental bank, headed by Takuji Yano, said in its report that Mr Adesina was not guilty on all counts.
Mr Yano is a Japanese executive director charged with the responsibility of investigating allegations by some concerned employees against the official.
The committee described the allegations that he (Mr Adesina) violated the code of conduct of the institution as “spurious and unfounded”.
In its petition, the concerned staff accused Mr Adesina of 20 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, including “unethical conduct, private gain, an impediment to efficiency, preferential treatment, and involvement in political activities.”
The group, which noted their allegations were in line with AfDB’s whistle-blowing policy, said these activities adversely affected the confidence and integrity of the bank.
Jeune Afrique, which said in a report that it saw the board’s letter that exonerated Mr Adesina, quoted the chair of the board of governors, Niale Kaba, as saying the committee proposed “to adopt the conclusions of the investigation” after due consultations.
Regardless, the United States government expressed “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” and called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations.”
In a letter dated May 22, 2020 to Ms Kaba, the U.S. government, through the Secretary, Department of Treasury in Washington, D.C., faulted the decision of the committee to totally exonerate Mr Adesina of all allegations, saying it was not yet time to make such a declaration.
Excerpts of the letter signed by Steven Mnuchin is reproduced below:
“We have deep reservations about the integrity of the Committee’s process. 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.
“We emphasise that undertaking an independent evaluation of facts, at any stage, is not at odds with a presumption of innocence.
“The allegations set out in the whistleblowers’ complaints submitted on January 19, 2020 raised significant issues that all relevant governing bodies of the Bank must handle with the utmost care, using all tools available to them.
“Had the Ethics Committee undertaken a proper preliminary examination that was in line with the Board of Governors Resolution B/BG/2008/11, standard practices at other international financial institutions, and the Bank’s own rules and procedures, it would have reviewed available facts that could be gathered by external counsel and found in internal Bank records.
“We fear that wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance.
“This is a serious risk when we need strong confidence in the AfDB to play an influential role in the current global economic and health crisis, and when many shareholders are seeking legislative support for payments under the recently-concluded General Capital Increase.
“Therefore, the United States cannot support dismissing the allegations at this stage. We believe the Board of Governors must demonstrate that this institution takes governance, anti-corruption, and transparency seriously.
“We thus request that you take steps to initiate an impartial, independent investigation into these allegations. Whatever the outcome, the AfDB will emerge stronger for having taken seriously its obligations to uphold good governance.
“The United States sincerely wishes the AfDB to remain a high-quality institution with the capability to address the needs of the African continent, particularly at this critical time.
“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 the AfDB’s President has broad support, confidence, and a clear mandate from shareholders.”
Uduaghan Dumps APC, Returns to PDP
Electoral College Appoints Rate Your Leader Founder, Joel Popoola As Member, Board of Directors
By Eric Elezuo
The Electoral College, Nigeria, has appointed the Founder, Rate Your Leader, Mr Joel Popoola, into its board of trustees as director to oversee International Mobilisation.
Popoola’s appointment was contained in two letters addressed to the technology entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner as well as the board members of the college and signed by its Executive Director, Mr Kunle Lawal.
The Electoral College observed that the democracy campaigner, who has made headlines in recent times with reference to his technological innovations and writeups has been a great ally of the college while expressing utmost happiness and pride to have him on the board of the College.
“We are sure the board would be proud with the impact he can bring,” Kunle Lawal noted.
While expressing the best wishes of the College, and acknowledging that Popoola’s appointment is with immediate effect, Mr Lawal added that the award winning techpreneur is ‘valued as an asset addition and most of all for his love for country (Nigeria).’
“I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between us all and the expansion of the college,” Lawal stressed.
Responding to his appointment, Popoola noted that the reward for hard work is more work, stressing that the appointment is not just a recognition of his efforts, but an opportunity to do a lot more for humanity.
“I see the appointment to the board of Nigerian Electoral College as not just a recognition of efforts, but an opportunity to do a lot more to raise the bars of the Nigeria’s electoral system and serve humanity for the good,” he said.
It would be recalled that Mr. Popoola was earlier in the month welcomed on board of the UK Tech Nation Founders’ Network as a full fledged member.
Among many other honours trailing his humble contributions to the digitalization of democratic process around the world, he is an advance member of the Institute of Directors Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Also appointed is Hakeem Condotti, a well seasoned entrepreneur and African player in business and diplomacy. He would serve as Director: External Relations.
Wike Locks Horns with Amaechi in War of Words at Justice Karibi-Whyte’s Funeral
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday engaged in a verbal fight at the burial of a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, in the Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.
Amaechi, who is the Minister of Transportation, while speaking at the funeral service, lamented what he term the rising insecurity and political intimidation in the state, saying the state was back to the time of Ateke Tom, a former militant leader, who is now the traditional head of Okochiri town in Okrika LGA of the state.
“You have lost your voice. The sage (the late justice) has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices.
“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody could speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.
“We are all here because we need to bury a man God has blessed. I have stopped travelling because of bad weather, but I told myself I must be here because of Justice Whyte.
“If you knew Justice (Karibi-Whyte) very well, you will know I was close to him. I was one of the few people he mentored,” Amaechi stated.
Wike on his part described the late Karibi-Whyte as an epitome of unshakable integrity, civility and dignity, but noted that comments credited to Amaechi were embarrassing.
Responding to Amaechi, Wike who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, said the minister had lost touch with developments in the state, adding that since the launching of Operation Sting by his administration, the security situation had improved greatly.
Wike said, “It is unfortunate for Amaechi to come to Kalabari land and accuse former President Goodluck Jonathan of not developing the area six years after he had left office.
“I wonder why the former governor will choose to make such embarrassing remarks at the funeral of late Justice Karibi-Whyte, a man he (Amaechi) claimed to be his mentor.”