The decision of the Bureau of Governors of the African Development Bank Group to authorise an independent review of the allegations against the president of the bank, Akinwumi Adesina, is a violation of the bank’s rule, a PREMIUM TIMES analysis of the bank’s Ethics Committee’s report and its Code of Conduct for its executive directors, including its president, has revealed.
Responding to a complaint received from a “Group of Concerned Staff Members” who accused Mr Adesina of misconducts, the bank’s ethics committee, after a series of meetings between February 27 and April 9, released an eight-page report of its preliminary investigation. The April 26 report exonerated Mr Adesina of the alleged misconducts and breaches.
The committee described the allegations that Mr Adesina violated the code of conduct of the institution as “spurious and unfounded”. It also concluded that the complaint made up of 16 allegations, was “not based on any objective and solid facts.”
By AfDB’s rule, the matter should have ended there.
However, under pressure from the United States, the bank’s Board of Governors approved an independent review of the Ethics Committee’s report.
The U.S. government representative on the board of the bank, Steven Dowd, has been accused of colluding with the whistle-blowers to discredit Mr Adesina,.
“The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.
“The Bureau also reiterates that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.
“However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.,” the board stated in a communique dated June 4, 2020.
A PREMIUM TIMES review of the resolution cited by the Board of Governors indicates that going by AfDB rules, the Ethics Committee should not have referred the matter to the board in the first place.
Our review also revealed that the Board of Governors should not have authorised an independent review of the report of the preliminary examination into the complaint as demanded by the U.S. government.
The secretary of the United States Department of Treasury, Steven Munchin, had in a May 24 letter to the Chairperson of the bank’s Board of Governors, Niala Kaba, disagreed with the findings of the Ethics Committee that exonerated Mr Adesina.
According to the letter, the U.S. government expressed “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” and called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations” using an independent investigator.
What the rule says
During its 43rd Annual Meeting of the bank on May 14, 2008, the AfDB’s Board of Governors adopted Resolution B/BG/2008/11, which made the Code of Conduct for Executive Directors of the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund applicable to the President of the Bank Group.
Article 3 Section 1 of Resolution B/BG/2008/11 empowers the Ethics Committee to “receive complaints and allegations relating to the violation of the provisions of the Code of Conduct by the President.” The resolution also stipulates that on receipt of such complaints and allegation, the ethics committee should “conduct preliminary examinations of such complaints”.