Ex-Vice presidents of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are calling for the independent probe of the current president of the bank, Akinwumi Adesina.
In a document exclusively obtained by The Daily Times, a body of ex-Vice Presidents of the AfDB, which is made up of Bedoumra Kordje, Kane Ousmane, Ganthso Mandia and Sakala Zondo said they were concerned by the widely publicized news of the dispute between the Bank’s President and some of its shareholders over the outcome of allegations made against the President by whistleblowers.
The ex-VPs said they believed it was in the interest of the Bank, that its shareholders, President, and staff that independent enquiry examines the allegations and the evidence and comes to clear conclusions which can inform the conduct of the Bank’s business in the future.
According to them, without such an enquiry, the current situation places the Bank, its President and its governing structures in an unfavourable light, with potentially adverse consequences for its credit rating and for its reputation, in general, adding that it worth recalling that the AfDB lost its triple AAA rating in the mid-1990s following a governance crisis, and only regained it a decade or so later following rigorous adjustments and painful reforms.
“We welcome the President’s statement of 27 May 2020 indicating that he is not opposed to an independent enquiry: As he said: “l am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank and the rule of law will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.” Such a perspective will honour him and, in turn, bolster his prospects for possible re-election”
They welcomed the decision from the Board of Governors’ Bureau to act swiftly for an independent and credible review of the matter saying it was important for Africa that its premier financial institution was above suspicion and is exemplary in its governance.
“More generally, we believe that Africa’s political commitment to good governance is well established. Therefore, Africa must, in all its initiatives, compel the world’s respect in terms of transparency; ethics, and compliance with established rules. This is a requirement for optimal mobilization of its abundant internal resources (see the Report of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, headed by President Thabo Mbeki, the Former President of South Africa). It is also a necessary condition for a fruitful partnership with the rest of the world”
They, however, traced the creation of the AfDB to the work of African visionaries collaborating with others within the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
According to them, it was a feat which required overcoming the doubts of many African countries as well as external sceptics stressing that the opening of the Bank’s capital to non-regionals was a result of an extended debate which its implementation enabled the Bank to acquire its AAA credit rating and to establish over time a track record that has made possible access to the international capital markets as celebrated today.
“The African Development Fund (ADF) has succeeded in mobilizing concessional resources mainly from non-regional member countries. For the 33 regional member countries eligible only for ADF financing, access to these resources are the primary benefit of membership. The Nigeria Trust Fund has also made a substantial contribution to regional member countries”, the ex-VPs said.
They further disclosed that non-regional members of the African Development Bank played a critical role in its financing and the financing of the African Development Fund with the current 60:40 voting power between regional and non-regional members were the result of decisions taken in the context of previous ADB general capital increases and ADF replenishments.
“The double majority requirement in the election of the President reflects the recognition of the important role that both regional and non-regional members play. The recent successful conclusion of the Seventh General Capital Increase of the African Development Bank and the Fifteenth Replenishment of the African Development Fund was achieved with a number of commitments made to strengthen the governance of the institution”, they said.
It would be recalled that a group of whistleblowers, recently accused 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.”
But Adesina, who was a former Nigerian minister for agriculture said the allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”