The US Department of Treasury says it cannot dismiss allegations against the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina
“We fear that the wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigations will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance”, it said in a statement signed by Steven T Mnuchin.
Continuing, it said, “This is a serious risk when we need strong confidence in the African Development Bank (AfDB) to play an influential role in the current global economic and health crisis, and when many shareholders are seeking legislative support for payments under the recently concluded General capital Increase.”
The US Department of Treasury, however, said it believes the Board of Directors must demonstrate that the institutions take governance, anti-corruption and transparency seriously, adding, “we thus request that you take steps to initiate an impartial, independent investigation into these allegations.”
It added that “whatever the outcome the AfDB will emerge stronger for having taken seriously its obligations to uphold good governance.”
Explaining further, it said the United States sincerely wishes the AfDB to remain a high-quality institution with the capability to address the needs of the African continent, particularly at this critical time.
Considering the scope, seriousness and detail of these allegations against the sole candidate for Bank leadership over the next five years, the US Department of Treasury believe that further enquiry is necessary to ensure the AfDB’s President has broad support, confidence and a clear mandate from shareholders.
The United States on May 5 received a letter from the AfDB in which the Board of Governors of the AfDB shared its view that it should adopt the conclusions of the Bank’s Ethics Committee and declare that the President is totally exonerated of all the allegations made against him.
The allegations set out in the whistleblower complaint submitted on 9 January 2020 raise significant issues that all relevant governing bodies of the Bank must handle with the utmost care, using all tools available to them.