The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) was cleared of corruption charges after an independent panel review.
The United States, one of the bank’s biggest shareholders, insisted on a new investigation in April after an internal review cleared Akinwumi Adesina.
The whistleblowers had accused the Nigerian of giving contracts to friends and appointing relatives at the bank.
Mr Adesina is expected to be re-elected for another five-year term in August.
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The 60-year-old banker, Nigeria’s former agriculture minister, will be the sole candidate in the election.
A charismatic speaker, known for his elegant suits and bow ties, he has been running the bank since 2015.
He had denied the allegations against him, saying they were “attempts by some to tarnish” his reputation.
Eight things about Akinwumi Adesina:
- First Nigerian to lead the AfDB
- Elected for a five-year term in September 2015
- Was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture from 2011 until his move
- Named Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2013 for his “bold reforms” in the agricultural sector
- Nigerian scholar told him he would never enter Purdue University because his math was poor
- Proved him wrong by entering the prestigious American institution
- Canceled admission to respected Cambridge University in the UK
- Obtained his doctorate in agricultural economics in 1988
Sources: BAD; Magazine Forbes
The group of three experts was made up of former Irish President Mary Robinson, Gambian Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and Leonard McCarthy, former Vice President for Integrity of the World Bank.
They backed the findings of the bank’s ethnic committee, which cleared Mr. Adesina of all charges alleged by whistleblowers in January.
“The panel agrees with the committee in its conclusions regarding all allegations against the president and believes that they have been properly considered and dismissed by the committee,” their report concludes.
The report is a rebuttal to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose rejection of the committee’s initial review led to their investigation, the Bloomberg News Agency reports.
Besides the 54 major African countries, the United States is one of the 27 non-regional members of the AfDB and its second largest shareholder.
The bank finances projects in the sectors of agriculture, health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors in Africa.