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Stop ‘hijack’ of AfDB by US, Obasanjo rallies support for Adesina among African leaders

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Olusegun-Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo Thursday rejected the United States Treasury’s demand for probe the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, for alleged corruption.

The US 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.

But Adesina insists he has not violated the bank’s Code of Ethics.

In a letter written to 12 former African Presidents including President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and John Kufour of Ghana, Obasanjo said Africa must stand up and not allow its institutions to be unduly controlled by non-African nations.

The ex-president said after allegations of unethical practices were levelled against Adesina, the ethics committee of the bank’s board of directors evaluated the allegations for three months and the 16 allegations were found to be false.

He added that after Adesina was exonerated, the US government insisted that there must be a fresh investigation by an independent body, a demand which was inconsistent with the rules of the bank.

READ ALSO: AfDB yields to U.S. pressure, begins fresh probe of Adesina

The letter read: “Instead of accepting the exoneration of the president of the bank, they (US treasury) called for an independent investigation. This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank. The US treasury secretary disparaged the bank and the ridiculed the entire governance system of the bank which has been in place since 1964.

“If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the AfDB as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.

“I, therefore, propose that we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the bank and recommend that the board of governors and ethics committee of the bank should firmly stand by their processes and outcome.”

According to him, the AfDB under Adesina had witnessed unprecedented growth and doubled its capital base from $93billion when he took over in 2015 to $208billion today.

The former president said Adesina had also ensured that the bank maintained its AAA credit rating.

He noted that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Adesina exhibited leadership by swiftly putting together a $10bn intervention for African countries.

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