Nigerian Lawmakers Label Calls For Probe Of AfDB President, Adesina, Witch-hunt

Members of the House of Representatives in Nigeria has described the call for an independent probe of the African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, as a witch-hunt.

The lower legislative chamber made this resolution following a motion by Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu.

While moving the motion, Elumelu noted that allowing an independent probe of Adesina could create a precedence of interference on the bank by external countries. 

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He said, “The House is troubled that if this sort of witch-hunt and unnecessary harassment is not put to check and discouraged, it may become a recurring decimal, thereby destabilising the stability the bank has enjoyed for decades and the intended results on a steady decrease.

“The House is concerned that recently, a group of whistleblowers petitioned Dr Adesina, accusing him of 16 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, some of which include private gains, impediments to efficiency, preferential treatment and involvement in political activities, which Adesina has continued to deny.

“The House is further concerned that on an investigation by the ethics committee of the board of directors, the allegations were found to be frivolous, unsubstantiated, lacked merit and therefore exonerated Adesina on all 16 allegations.

“The chairman (of the) board of governors, being satisfied that the committee had done a thorough job, having followed all known rules and procedures of the bank in handling such cases, declared Adesina exonerated.

“The House is worried that though the ethics committee of the board of directors followed the established law governing the AfDB in arriving at their decision in absolving Adesina of the allegations, the United States’ Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, in a letter to the Chairperson of the  bank, Niale Koba, rejected the verdict of the committee and called for an independent investigation into the allegations against Adesina, whose tenure is due for renewal, given the fact that he is the only contender to the office.”

The AFDB has bowed to pressure from the United States for an independent probe.

Nigeria has the highest stake in the ownership of the institution but Adesina is the first person from the country to head the bank.

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Saharareporters, New York

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