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African Development Bank Says President Not Asked to Step Down - BLOOMBERG

MAY 29, 2020

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  • All governors of the bank will be involved in resolving issue
  • Bank meeting called after U.S. pressure for independent probe

The African Development Bank’s top governing body says President Akinwumi Adesina hasn’t been asked to step down from his position while it continues to review the fallout of a whistleblower complaint.

“The Bureau (of the board of governors) informs the public that it has not taken any decision,” its chair, Niale Kaba, said in a statement. “Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign. All governors will be carried along in resolving the issue.”

A group of governors agreed on May 26 on an independent probe of the lender’s president, after the U.S. rejected an internal investigation that cleared him of allegations of favoritism, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the deliberations on the matter.

Adesina, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, may have to step back from the role until the probe is complete, they said at the time. Adesina, 60, said in a statement Wednesday that “fair, transparent and just processes” would vindicate him, without denying or confirming a new probe.

Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are among countries that wrote to the AfDB to back U. S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s demands for professional outsiders to look into the allegations, the people said. A representative for the Nordic countries declined to comment. The U.S. is the AfDB’s biggest shareholder after Adesina’s home country of Nigeria.

“I must emphasize that there is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group,” Kaba said in the letter which confirms the May 26 meeting and the reception of shareholder letters “expressing various views.”

A town-hall meeting with Adesina meant to take place Friday was canceled Thursday, according to employees of the bank.

In March, the lender issued a $3 billion social bond to help African countries deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The bank also launched a $10 billion crisis-response facility for African nations.

— With assistance by Rene Vollgraaff

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