By: Babs-Oluribigbe Adeoye & Francis Okonji (Abuja)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a meeting with Mr Akinwunmi Adesina, the President of the Africa Development Bank (AFDB).
This is the first time the Nigerian leader would hold meeting with the embattled AfDB chief since his trouble began. However, the details of the meeting are yet to unfold as at the time of filing this report.
The president chief of staff, Ibrahim Gambari, the ministers of finance; budget and national planning, Zanies Ahmed and foreign affairs Geoffrey Onekama also attended the meeting.
Mr Adesina did not speak with journalists after the meeting.
The whistleblowers, among other claims, had accused Mr Adesina of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing relatives and friends to strategic positions, and giving preferential treatment to Nigeria.
The bank’s ethics committee had acquitted Mr Adesina of all the allegations but the United States Government, the second-largest shareholder of the multilateral bank, after Nigeria did not satisfy with the decision of the committee, and are seriously pushing for an independent investigation into the activities of AfDB boss.
The board of African Development Bank (AfDB) has succumbed to the pressure to go for an independent probe after the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, openly rejected the decision of the bank’s ethics committee to clear Adesina of all the allegations brought against him by some whistleblowers.
Fifteen former African Presidents last week declared their support for the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), following call for a fresh probe by the US. Among them are two former Nigerian Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.
The independent probe is coming barely 3 months to the bank’s annual general meeting, where Adesina is expected to be ratified for a second term, having been the sole Presidential candidate.
Mr Adesina who has served the bank meritoriously and was widely applauded to have brought significant progress to the bank has denied these allegations, stating “I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.”