As expected, the Board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) will appoint an independent attorney to look at the Ethics Committee report on complaints against the Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina. They just issued a communique today (Thursday, see below). This independent overview is close to what the U.S. had asked for.
There are no surprises, I wrote a few days ago thus: “Many here have written that African Union and AfDB should just ignore the U.S. and carry on. That would be a momentous stupidity because if the U.S. treasury classifies AfDB as a “corrupt institution”, rightly or wrongly, the bank will crash.” You do not mess up with America when it comes to banking ordinance because the U.S. dollar and its banking institutions run the world.
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.
Even the AfDB President will not fault the conclusion of the Board as he does know the implications of going against the wishes of the U.S Treasury. His meeting with Nigerian President would have fixed his problems, but unfortunately, Nigeria is a spoke in the wheel of global banking – and the U.S. owns the whole wheel. I had commented on that Mr. Buhari meeting thus: “President Buhari makes his support to Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank (AfDB) president, evidently public. Ideally, that should do it for the AfDB President on the allegations leveled against him”. But America has different ideas.
Now, game on, this may be the best outcome for Adesina. If an independent attorney clears him, he would be cleared indeed! Yes, even though the independent review will focus on reviewing the Ethics Committee decision, there is a clear correlation here: if the committee has done a good job, Adesina smiles. But if the Review says the committee did not do a good job, it becomes an issue, and a new investigation may be needed. So, why the Review is not probing or investigating the direct allegations, its conclusion remains a matter that will affect the President’s interests. When you review a report of a probe, you are indirectly “probing” the original incident!
And those African ex-presidents who wrote that letter, making a case against an independent attorney, should now understand how their lack of visioning has denigrated the standing of Africa in the global arena. The African Development Bank is a cash center for the United States in Africa, not even a full bank branch!
The full statement
Communique of the Bureau of the Boards of Governors of The African Development Bank Group following its Meeting of 4th June 2020 regarding the whistle-blowers’ complaint against the President of the Bank
- 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.
- b)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.
- c)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.
- d)The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high caliber individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.
- The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future
Comment #1: Just to be clear, what have been authorized is “an Independent Review of the REPORT of the Ethics Committee” and not a look at the whistleblower complaints against the President. There is a clear difference.
Comment #2: Prof, please fact-check. The Board will allow an “independent review” of the approved report, not an “independent investigation” into the matter. US can have its say but the AfDB Board will have its way.
My Response: I think the title of this piece is Independent Review. There is no confusion there. However, when you probe a report, you are also probing what the report looked at. Everyone is an adult and we understand. While there is a difference, it is an independent person doing it. The key word is “independent”.