On The Allegations Against AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina

On The Allegations Against AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina

Since the news broke on allegations against the African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Adesina,  and the American government’s rejection of the Ethics Committee conclusion, I have tried to understand what happened. I have asked some friends in the Bank and read some online articles. Of course, this is a whistleblower complaint; not many things are online. This is the summary: In the Nigerian standard, these are not allegations because we operate that way, from local governments to the presidency. Of course, AfDB is not Nigeria.

There were some accusations against Dr Adesina by some AfDB stakeholders. The Ethics Committee of the Bank’s Board was put into action; he was exonerated by the Committee.

The big news now is that the United States Government through the Secretary of Treasury, Steven T. Mnuchin, has rejected the conclusion, and is asking for an independent investigation. That changes the dimension of this whole thing. The letter is attached here (pdf). Dr. Adesina was largely walking into the second term of the AfDB presidency before this investigation began.

From this you can see the heart of Dr. Adesina, he gave out the $750,000 he won on prizes to charity but the Bank’s whistleblowers would have preferred he sent it to its vault. That the U.S. government read through these allegations and is getting involved (read letter) is surprising. What he is accused of happens everyday in Washington DC. That does not mean they are good, but with all the issues in the world, and America can find time for this does mean Adesina has more challenges than these allegations.

The original complaint seen by PREMIUM TIMES include 16 cases of alleged breaches perpetrated by Mr Adesina and an additional four cases of breaches later sent to the Board of Governors.

The allegations range for alleged misconduct and favoritism, arbitrary recruitment, private gain, impediment to efficiency, singlehandedly overruling decisions taken by directors, nepotism, political lobbying, use of bank resources for private gains.

That said, this is a lesson for all of us from Nigeria: one of the accusations is that 25% of the newly recruited managers and leaders are Nigerians; Nigeria holds 9% stake in the bank. If that is indeed true, we must condemn it, but that is not a fire-able offense. The Bank president can be given time to normalize it.

In 2014, I went to Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of Power. I got to a section… People there were speaking Ijaw – most of them came from the Niger Delta area. I returned to that same place when I went for an event where I met the Vice President in 2017, everyone was now speaking Hausa. Largely, in Nigeria, our “it is my turn” is a way of life. But that should not be, and some may not accept it.

Premium Times has some of the allegations.

ALLEGED BREACHES OF CODE OF CONDUCT

The original complaint seen by PREMIUM TIMES include 16 cases of alleged breaches perpetrated by Mr Adesina and an additional four cases of breaches later sent to the Board of Governors.

The allegations range for alleged misconduct and favoritism, arbitrary recruitment, private gain, impediment to efficiency, singlehandedly overruling decisions taken by directors, nepotism, political lobbying, use of bank resources for private gains.

[…]

The whistleblowers claimed that almost immediately after Mr Adesina’s assumption of office, he usurped the role HR manager, “playing very active role in the recruitment of all managerial positions”.

[..]

The whistleblowers also alleged that under Mr Adesina’s presidency, the bank’s organisation chart was altered to promote Nigeria to an almost full-fledged region.

[…]

“Admittedly, Nigeria is AfDB’s largest shareholder with over 9%, but it’s not clear if this justifies a preferential treatment. Nigerians have also been particularly well treated in the massive recruitment drive that was launched due to the restructuring of President ADESINA between 2016 and 2018. When roughly 9% of new recruits were Nigerians (or dual nationals of Nigerian origin) – in line with Nigerian shareholding –, they made up roughly 25% of the newly recruited managerial functions. It is not clear if this preferential treatment was justified by a previous under-representation,” they said.

[…]

The whistleblowers described Adesina as “the unchallenged travel champion” of the bank and accused him of using the opportunities of his travels to meet regional heads of States and making financial promises to obtain their support for his re-election.

Share this post

2 thoughts on “On The Allegations Against AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina

  1. Ogbonnaya Ukeh Oteh · Edit

    As someone who has followed activities of AfDB over the years, I am aware that the Institution has a formal system of recruitment which favours competence and capacity under a competitive system. Is it not possible that those 25% Nigerians passed through this channel and came out successful.
    I have also seem instances where overzealous staff do crazy stuff to seek favour from the Head.
    Over the years, Dr. Adesina antecedents has shown that he has A+ in demand perception and his performance at improving stakeholders value at AfDB is not in doubt. This is a trying time for him and we must galvanize support to make sure he succeed at this role.
    We have seen this kind of whistleblower antics in both Nigeria and America politics. They often fizzle away after the election, in this case Dr Adesina is the candidate to beat.

    Reply
    1. Excellent comment!

      Silence is NOT Golden at this time and we also must avoid playing to the gallery! His leadership has galvanised millions of Africans to reconsider Agribusiness and not remain fringe players in a massive global sector.

      That’s what leadership must do, galvanise us. To quell that voice now, based on unsubstantiated accusations is injustice.

      Reply

Post Comment