Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president, has insisted that the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), under the leadership of Akinwunmi Adesina, had recorded tremendous success and growth by raising funds from donor countries of over $7billion for the Bank’s 15th funds replenishment for low income countries.
The assessment was contained in the recent strong-worded letter to former presidents of several African countries.
Obasanjo, who wondered why the United States, through the US Treasury Secretary would write a public letter seeking an independent probe of Adesina when an ethics committee of the board of directors of the bank had exonerated him of all the allegations levelled against him, said the bank was recently ranked fourth globally in term of transparency among 45th multilateral and bilateral institutions.
He said it was an indication of tremendous progress it had achieved under Adeshina which necessitated his endorsement for a second term by member countries.
“Under his leadership, the Bank launched the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to mobilise massive flows of capital to Africa,” he said.
He noted that the inaugural launch of the AIF held in Johannesburg, South Africa, secured 38.7 billion of investment interests within less than 72 hours.
“The AIF event held in 2019 went even further and secured $40.1billion of investment interest in less than 72 hours. Africa has never seen these kinds of financial and investment interests.
“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,” he said.
“We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules, and regulations of the Bank. It is also critical that we emphasise the need for the ADB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa,” he added.
Obasanjo had warned against a violation of the internal investigation mechanism at the AfDB, saying that the corruption allegations against Adeshina were a calculated attempt to discredit and oust him from office.
Adesina’s administration is being accused of maladministration, fraud, preferential treatment, and sundry acts of impropriety, among others.
He, has, however, maintained his innocence in the allegations against him and was subsequently cleared of the allegations by the bank’s board which noted that Adesina has not violated any code of conduct of the financial institution.
However, the United State Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, further called for an independent probe into allegations by a group of whistle-blowers against the AfDB President.
He said that the United States’ action was against the standing rules of the AfDB which had existed since its creation in 1964, while urging African countries and leaders to rise and defend their interest so that the AfDB would not be hijacked from the continent by outsiders.