Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says he is innocent and will not allow allegations levelled against him bring his honour and integrity to question.
In a statement on Wednesday, Adesina described the allegations against him as “trumped-up” and expressed confidence in the processes and governance procedures of the bank.
“In spite of unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation and prejudice the bank’s governance procedures, I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank,” he said.
“I sincerely appreciate the support of the bank’s shareholders. At this time, I remain confident that ultimately and as one collective, the bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive.
“I 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.”
This is the first time in weeks that Adesina would publicly comment on the case. Adesina, a former minister of agriculture in Nigeria, is being accused of favouritism.
Although he was cleared after an investigation by the bank’s ethics committee, the United States requested an independent probe of the allegations.
In a letter signed by Steven Mnuchin, its treasury secretary, the US which is the second-largest shareholder in the multilateral institution after Nigeria, said it disagrees with the committee’s decision to exonerate Adesina.
“I will, therefore, continue to work with each and every one of our shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard-earned global reputation; and that our credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced, as we collectively press on to fulfil the mission of our founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.”
Adesina is the sole candidate, seeking reelection, in the bank’s election which is scheduled to hold in August.