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African Development Bank president cleared of corruption charges
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African Development Bank president cleared of corruption charges

An independent panel of experts has cleared Akinwunmi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), of corruption charges.

The African Development Bank, established in 1963, provides financing to African countries for projects that contribute to economic and social development. The Code of Conduct for Executive Directors, adopted in 2001, did not apply to the president until 2008.

On January 19, the AfDB Ethics Committee received a document signed by “A Group of Concerned Staff Members of the AfDB,” claiming that the president seriously and repeatedly breached the Code of Conduct. There were sixteen allegations against Adesina. These included allegations that Adesina did not respect internal recruitment rules and regulations, that he improperly used his position to appoint and promote staff members, and that he preferentially treated Nigerians. Adesina was formerly Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and is the first Nigerian to serve as president of the AfDB.

The Ethics Committee wrote to the group that sent the allegations on February 6, asking them to submit evidence that they had to substantiate the allegations in order to permit the committee to conduct a preliminary examination of the allegation. The group declined to send evidence because they claimed that feared that their identities would be exposed, and they also claimed to have obtained the evidence illegally. The Ethics Committee analyzed the allegations reaching a consensus that the allegations were unfounded, without merit, and should be dismissed.

Even though the Ethics Committee cleared Adesina, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in May personally signed a letter that asked for an independent review of the committee’s findings. The independent panel of experts reviewed the Ethics Committee’s findings, concluding on Monday that the Ethics Committee correctly considered the complaints.

The panel, led by former Irish president Mary Robinson, found that that the allegations were unfounded, as there was no evidence to support them.