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U.S. Insists on Fresh Investigation into Allegations Against AfDB’s Adesina

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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.”

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Insecurity: FG Resuscitates Special Terrorism Prosecution Courts

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Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said that special terrorism prosecution courts will soon be resuscitated in Nigeria.

In a statement on Thursday, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the AGF, Umar Gwandu, said the decision is part of efforts to address insecurity.

“The federal government is committed to ending insecurity in the country. The courts are to bring to book all those found guilty in connection with terrorism, so as to serve as a deterrent to others,” the statement read.

“In addition to the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the measures taken by the government will counter the twin trouble of insurgency and insecurity in the country.”

On April 30, 2013, Ibrahim Auta, the former chief judge of the federal high court, made a practice direction that amended the order 48 rule 4 of the federal high court (civil procedure) rule 2009, which took effect on June 3, 2013.

The practice direction was intended to fast-track criminal trials relating to offences of terrorism, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, rape, corruption, and money laundering cases, and ensure that delays in criminal trials are largely eliminated.

Under this practice, the court shall ensure that criminal cases are fully ready for trial before hearing dates are agreed, in order to minimise undue adjournments and delays.

Parties involved in the trials are also expected to focus only on important matters relating to their cases.

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$65m Fraud: ICPC Declares Buhari’s Son-in-Law Wanted

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared Gimba Yau Kumo, son-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, wanted over an alleged $65 million fraud.

In a notice published on Thursday, Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson of the anti-graft commission, said Kumo is declared wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola over alleged misappropriation and dispersion of national housing funds.

Kumo, a former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, married Fatima, the president’s daughter, in 2016 at Daura, Katsina state.

“The persons whose pictures appear above, Mr. Tarry Rufus, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo and Mr. Bola Ogunsola, are hereby declared WANTED by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in connection with issues bordering on misappropriation of National Housing Funds and diversion of the sum of Sixty Five Million dollars ($65,000,000),” the ICPC said.

“Anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station.”

In April, the senate committee on public accounts summoned Kumo to explain the alleged irregular award of N3 billion contract when he was still at the bank.

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Igbo Aren’t Violent People, Ignore ‘Rumour’ of Attack on Lagos – Ohanaeze Tells Sanwo-Olu

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Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.

On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.

The groups have, however, denied the allegations.

Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.

Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.

“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.

“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.

“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.

“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the south-west was a source of relief.

“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”

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