Raila Odinga has defended the embattled Africa Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina against America’s push for an independent probe over claims of corruption, favouritism in recruitment and procurement at the institution.
Raila, who is also the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development, said he has been following “disturbing” developments at the AfDB over attempts to “derail and disrupt he premier Pan-African institution at a time Africa and the world was focused on addressing the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic”.
He alleged that there are individuals who are hell=bent on circumventing “the clearly articulated and well-tested governance and procedures by the bank”.
“We reject the attempt to operate outside the laws governing the operations of the bank. If not checked, these maneuvers can distabilise a well-functioning institution at a time the continent needs it most,” Raila said.
According to the BBC, the “Group of Concerned Staff Members of the AfDB” claimed that Adesina has used the bank’s resources for self-promotion and personal gain, while also paying out huge but undeserved severance packages to staff who resigned mysteriously, and favouring his fellow Nigerians.
Raila, however, noted that the allegations had been thoroughly investigated by the Executive Board through its relevant committee and a determination arrived at that they were baseless.
But US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin personally signed a letter to the board rejecting the internal investigation that cleared Adesina. The Ethics Committee is headed by Executive Director Yano Takuji, a Japanese.
The US is one of the 27 non-regional members of the AfDB and its second largest shareholder.
“We fear that the wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance,” Mnuchin said in the letter.
“Therefore, the United States cannot support dismissing the allegations at this stage,” he added.
Raila termed these efforts as misguided agenda to destabilise the continental bank.
“We urge those who have misguided agendas to cease and desist. This is the time to stabilise AfDB not destabilise it”.
The ODM party leader in Kenya said under Adesina, AfDB has made commendable strides such as raising the bank’s capital from $98 billion to $208 billion this year.
“President Adesina has prioritised Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the continent’s quest for for transformation particularly through investment in agriculture, infrastructure development and continental integration, among other areas that are dear to us,” Raila said.