Akinwumi Adeshina, AFDB President

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, has been cleared of any ethical wrongdoings by an independent review panel set up by the bureau of governors of the bank.

The panel was constituted following a complaint by the United States to review the process by which two organs of the bank – the ethics committee of the board, and the bureau of the board of governors had previously cleared Adesina.

Earlier this year Adesina was alleged to have mismanaged AFDB by tarring the bank with poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.

The panel was presided by A former president of the Republic of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson headed the three-member independent review panel.

The report of the panel stated that it concurred with the ethics committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against Adesina and found that they were properly considered and dismissed.

“The Panel is mindful of the fact that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. At the same time, it appears to us to be an undue burden to expect a holder of high office in an international organization, to prove a negative, in the absence of sufficient grounds,” the report said.

An attorney writing on behalf of the President, also argues quite correctly in our view, that a distinction should be drawn between alleged institutional failure at the Bank and the conduct of the president.

“We have not attached any value to the Dissociation Note in our deliberations. The President has also as part of his detailed submission enclosed 18 annexes, which he believed might be relevant and necessary to make his case and assert his right to due process.”

“It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive,” it added.