The African Development Bank (AfDB) has re-elected Akinwumi Adesina to another five-year term even after the Nigerian was widely accused of corruption and other malpractices.
Adesina, 60, was elected unopposed by the 54-member recording a unanimous vote of confidence via a virtual meeting of national representatives on Thursday.
Last year, the AfDB president was accused by people who described themselves as the Group of Concerned Staff Members of the AfDB of using the body’s funds for self-promotion and awarding severance packages under dubious circumstances. The group also said Adesina had a penchant for favoring Nigerians.
But among Adesina’s accusers was the United States as well, the second-largest shareholder in the AfDB. In May, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin rejected an investigation that cleared Adesina of any wrongdoing and demanded an independent look.
Mnuchin wrote: “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…Therefore, the United States cannot support dismissing the allegations at this stage.”
The Abidjan headquartered body then re-commissioned new independent investigations in July that were led by a former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Adesina was once again found not guilty.
Through it all, Adesina, a former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, was supported by his home government. Adesina’s problems were also considered by many Nigerians as an attack on one of their own.
Adesina, who holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics, is a charismatic talker and a fashionable dresser highly recognizable by his colorful bow-ties.