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AfDB head cleared

An independent review has found that the African Development Bank (AfDB) rightly cleared its president, Akinwumi Adesina, of abuse of office, paving the way for him to seek a second term.

Whistleblowers in January accused Adesina, who has held the AfDB’s top job since 2015, of abuses of office, including favoritism in hiring fellow Nigerians and giving out overly generous severance packages. He had denied the accusations.

Akinwumi Adesina

A report by the bank’s ethics board in April cleared him of malfeasance, but the United States, AfDB’s second-largest shareholder, rejected the internal investigation and demanded an independent panel review the case.

That panel, led by former Irish President Mary Robinson, agreed with the decision of the bank’s ethics committee, according to its final report.

The allegations against Adesina “were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee,” it said.

The United States pushed for the review because it had reservations about the integrity of the bank’s process. That put it at odds with Nigeria, the lender’s largest shareholder, which had voiced support for Adesina.

The exoneration of Adesina, a former Nigerian agriculture minister, frees him to seek re-election as the head of the multilateral lender. His first term ends on Aug. 31, and he is expected to run unopposed.

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