An independent panel of experts, headed by former Irish President Mary Robinson, has cleared the harassed leader of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, of corruption allegations, according to AFP.
Adesina, 60, a charismatic speaker known for his elegant suits and bow ties, became the first Nigerian to helm the AfDB in 2015, but a 15-page report earlier this year claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.
The panel of three experts, led by Robinson alongside Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice president Leonard McCarthy, cleared Adesina of all charges alleged by whistleblowers.
“The Panel concurs with the Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee,” Monday’s report concluded.
The African banking institution and Adesina, who is the sole candidate for the bank’s August’s presidential elections, had been in the eye of the storm since April over allegations of impropriety levelled against him by some whistleblowers working in the bank.
The former Nigerian agriculture minister had always stated he was “innocent” of the charges.
Robinson, who led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before serving as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002, dismissed the 16 whistleblower allegations against Adesina.
It had earlier been reported that the bank’s Ethics’ Committee, which first investigated the allegations, gave him a clean bill that was accepted by the Board of Governors, but the United States rejected the report and demanded a fresh probe by an independent body.
The board subsequently authorised an independent review of the Ethics Committee report on Adesina, who has received the backing of Nigeria and other African countries ahead of his reelection next month.