Former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan, and some other African leaders Friday threw their support behind the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Adewunmi Adesina, over US-led moves for a second probe against him.
The African leaders rallied support for the AfDB chief through a statement they jointly signed and made available to journalists by Obasanjo’s media aide, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi.
The former African leaders that signed the letter are:
Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria: 1999-2007)
Boni Yayi (President of Benin: 2006-2016)
Hailemariam Desalegn (Prime Minister of Ethiopia; 2012 – 2018)
John Kufour (Ghana: 2001 – 2009)
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia: 2006 – 2018)
Joyce Banda (Malawi: 2012 – 2014)
Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique: 1986 – 2005)
Tandja Mamadou (Niger: 1999 – 2010)
Goodluck Jonathan (Nigeria: 2010-2015)
Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia: 2011 – 2014)
Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania: 1995 – 2005)
And endorsed by:
Ameenah Gurib-Fakin (Mauritius: 2015 – 2018)
Rupiah Banda (Zambia: 2008 – 2011)
Kgalema Motlanthe (South Africa: 2008-2009)
Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania: 2005 – 2015)
The Nigerian-born Adesina had been accused of violating the Bank’s Code of Ethics.
But he has firmly and consistently declared his innocence of the allegations.
The United States Department of Treasury had repeatedly called for an independent probe of corruption allegations against the AfDB president despite being cleared by the bank’s ethics committee headed by Takuji Yano on May 5.
The African leaders, however, insisted that the bank had fully followed its rules, procedures and governing systems, which had served it well since its establishment in 1964.
They said: “The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, a legal oversight body of the Bank, made up of representatives of shareholders, cleared Dr. Adesina of all 16 allegations, declaring them as baseless and unsubstantiated and exonerated him completely.
“The Chairman of the Board of Governors, based on the report of the Ethics Committee, declared Dr. Adesina exonerated.
“Governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organisations.
“In the case of the AfDB, while differences may exist among parties, the best way to address them is to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank.
“To do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard earned reputation, and that of its President.”
The leaders cautioned that the continent should not allow itself to be distracted, particularly when it was battling with the COVID-19 pandemic.