Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed have written to the board of the African Development Bank (AFDB) not to honour the request of the US Treasury to institute an independent probe of its president, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
According the duo, the United states has belittled the bank by refusing to accept the decision of its governing board and publicly calling for an independent investigation of its president.
Adesina had been accused of favoritism and abuse of power but was absolved by the ethics committee of the bank.
The US Treasury which is the largest foreign partner of the bank however rejected the findings of the ethics committee of the AFDB, calling for Adesina to step aside while an independent investigation is carried out.
In separate letters to the chairman of the AFDB board, Kaba Niale, Obasanjo and Zainab Ahmed urged the bank to follow the laid down processes to preserve its prestige and integrity.
“The call for an independent investigation of the president is outside of the laid down rules, procedures and governing system of the bank and its articles as it relates to the code of conduct on ethics for the president,” Zainab Ahmed wrote
Former president Obasanjo berated the US Treasury for interfering in the processes of the bank.
“Unfortunately, the US government, through the US treasury secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the ethics committee of the board of directors and the chairman of the board of governors of the bank. Instead of accepting the exoneration of the president of the bank, they called for an independent investigation.
“This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the bank. The US treasury secretary disparaged the bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the bank which has been in place since 1964.
“This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group. If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.”
Obasanjo thereafter adivised that it was important for the AFDB to remain an African-focused development bank rather than allow itself be used to serve foreign interests.