African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina. Picture: AFP/SIA KAMBOU
African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina. Picture: AFP/SIA KAMBOU

Abidjan — The African Development Bank’s (AfDP) ethics committee has found no evidence to support allegations of favouritism by its president Akinwumi Adesina.

A complaint by unidentified whistle-blowers accused Adesina of handing contracts to acquaintances and appointing relatives to strategic positions at the Abidjan-based lender. After examining the allegations “point by point”, the committee concluded “the complaint was not based on any objective and solid fact”, the committee said in a document dated April 26 seen by Bloomberg and verified by Nialé Kaba, chair of the bank’s board of governors.

Kaba declined to comment further. The investigation has been transferred to the board, which must now decide whether to seek an independent probe.

Adesina has repeatedly refuted the allegations as unfounded, describing them as an attempt to discredit him before his bid for a second five-year term later this year.

Adesina is the only candidate up for election at an annual meeting that had been scheduled for late May before being postponed to late August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

African leaders including President Cyril Ramaphosa and former president of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have expressed support for Adesina and commended him for his efforts to help secure funds for Africa to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

In March, the lender issued a $3bn social bond to help African countries face the coronavirus. Bids for the securities on the London money market exceeded $4.6bn.

The bank also launched a $10bn crisis response facility for African nations.

The AfDB is Africa’s biggest multilateral lender and has an AAA rating from Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings. Its shareholders are Africa’s 54 nations and 27 countries in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Bloomberg