By Stephen Ubanna
Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture under former President Goodluck Jonathan, and President of African Development Bank, ADB, who is seeking re-election for another five-year term in office, next August, at the Bank’s Annual General Meeting, AGM, appears to have played into the hands of perceived enemies from both within and outside the African Continent over his running of the Abidjan led African Multilateral Financial Institution iN the Last four years.
The perceived enemies may have known that in the next three months , the Nigerian born AfDB , President will stand in for another election as the sole candidate at the Bank’s AGM, at Abidjan, CotedÍvore. The unidentified whistle-blowers had accused the 60-year old Adesina of ”awarding juicy contracts from the Bank ‘ to acquaintances and appointing relatives to strategic positions’’.
The whistle-blowers and their foreign backers, may have come up with the allegations when information leaked out that Adesina may be returned unopposed as the 80 shareholders had agreed to do so at the next August AGM. Insider sources told The Value News that the African shareholders want a continuation in implementing the programme f the Bank instead of truncating the good works of the multi-lateral bank under the close watch of the Nigerian born ADB President which had impacted meaningfully on the continent. Their target, many believe was ostensibly to get Adesina removed at all costs to stop giving Nigerian undue advantage in the affairs of the Bank.
More worrisome was the alleged petition to the Board of Governors of the Bank by some concerned staff who were said to have reeled out some 20 breaches of the bank’s Code of Conduct , unethical Conduct, pecuniary gain and involvement in political activities in African countries. He was said to have also been accused by the aggrieved Staff of being an impediment to the Bank efficiency.
His case may have been worsened following the accusations of all Multi-lateral Lenders including the ADB, by David Malpass , President of the World Bank last February that the global Lender’s Banks including the ADB, tend to give out loans quickly without following due process, and thus adding to African countries debts problem.
Malpass , the world Bank President had cited the $3 billion social bond that was issued last March to the African countries in tackling the outbreak of the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country emerged coronavirus pandemic. He was said to have also picked holes on the bank’s $10 billion crisis response facility for Africa which had been launched already.
But in spite of the allegations ostensibly to remove the Nigerian ADB, President , by those opposed to him, an internal investigation Committee was said to have been set up by the Board of governors which cleared him of any wrong doing of ’favoritisms’ in the running of the bank over the last four years, which thus, qualifies him to seek re-election for another five-year term.
Unknown to many, the North American country of the United States, US, which was said to be working with the whistle blowers could not take it.
Steven Munchin, the country’s Treasury Secretary rejection of the report of the internal investigation Committee exonerating Adesina of all the allegations leveled against him speaks volume. He may have spoken the mind of President Donald Trump, when he called for an independent probe of the allegations against the ADB , President, which is considered weighty in US financial circles.
‘’We have deep reservations about the integrity of the Committee’s process’’, Munchin, had said. This may have informed why he had urged Niale Kaba, Chairwoman of the Bank ‘s Board of governors ‘’to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of outside Independent investigator of high professional standing’’.
Munchi, the US Treasury Secretary may have championed the involvement of independent investigators in the allegations against Adesina, the embattled ADB , President, to protect the country’s 6.5% stake in the Bank. Note that the 54 African countries and 27 in Europe, Asia, North and South America including the Middle East , have shares in the African multi-lateral Financial Institution.
The Board of governors of the Bank, going by news making the rounds appear to have bowed to the pressure of the US Treasury Secretary as it was said to have agreed to set up an Independent probe on Adesina , in order to get to the root of the matter.
Munchin, the US, Treasury Secretary may have had his way because he has the ears of Kaba, the Bank , Chairwoman, described as a tool in the hands of the US, government, to manipulate the running of the bank. Despite the gang up to facilitate the removal of the ADB, President, based on the trump up charges, he has refused to came in to the backmail as he has repeatedly maintained his innocence , insisting that he has been ‘fair and transparent in the running of the bank operations’.
Given the direction which the ADB case may be going, which many fear will expose Africa to the International Community for ridiculing, Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan, two former Nigerian Presidents were said to have joined 13 other former African Leaders, to support Adesina to ensure that he is returned as the President of the African Lender Multi-lateral Financial Institution next August at the Bank AGM.
The former African leaders who were not happy at the vilification of the ADB, President, by those opposed to him had ‘’extolled his works , noting that the bank had never had it so good in the management of its Funds and granting loan facilities to borrowers.
Obasanjo and the other former African Leaders who could not hide their feelings noted that the continent which is currently facing tough and difficult times , requires ‘’ all hands to be on deck to tackle the common enemy: COVID 19, instead of dissipating energy on allegations and probe of Adesina, the ADB, President, which many consider as diversionary.
They had cited some of the good works of the Bank under Adesina such as the $10 crisis response facility to support Africa memeber countries shareholders, a $3 billion Fight COVID 19 Social bond, described as the largest ever US dollar denominated bond in the world. The former African Leaders were said to have passed a verdict that ’’it was powered by his vision and Leadership. Recall that the World Bank President Malpass had criticised the crisis Response Facility support for African countries and the Social bond.
They had opined that the Bank under Adesina has being doing a lot for women, particular, the provision of a $3 billion fund in order to give women easy access to funds to start Small and Medium Scales Enterprises, SMEs, with the support support of the G 7 countries and Africa.
The African former Leaders noted that if Adesina had not followed due process in running the bank as alleged by the aggrieved patis, the 80 shareholders from Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East , North and South America, could not have approved a general capital base increase of $115 billion for it, the largest since its establishment in 1964.
Given an insider information, the former African Leaders , who knew much about the workings of the ADB, over the years believed that Adesina records are unbeatable. ‘’Across the African continent, the Bank’s presence and work have been highly visible and impactful’’, they said.
X-raying Adesina;s track records in the African lender Bank, they noted that in less than five years the bank’s five point agenda has impacted meaningfully on the over 333 million people living in the continent who now have access to electricity, food security, access to Finance ,via, the private sector , improved transport system and access to good water supply and sanitation.
Obasanjo, and the other former African leaders maintained that under Adesina as theADB, President, the Bank has maintained its stellar AAA, rating among all other global rmulti-lateral Financial Institutions. This may have informed why the former African leaders had called on the warring parties to sheath their guns and allow peace to reign in order to move the continent forward economically in the post COVID era.
Let us hope that Paul Kagame, Presidnt of Rwanda and Chairman of African UNION, au, will mobilse other African Leaders, to use their majority share holding in the African Lender Bank to stop the rancor currently tearing the Bank apart because of thei pecuniary interest.