Former Irish president to lead probe into African Development Bank head

Mary Robinson,

IRELAND’S former president Mary Robinson will lead a panel to investigate the leader of the African Development Bank (AfDB), accused by whistle-blowers of corruption, the bank said.

Akinwumi Adesina became the first Nigerian to lead the AfDB in 2015 — but a 15-page report earlier in 2020 claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.

He was cleared by the organisation’s ethics committee, but international pressure has mounted with the US calling in May for an independent investigation.

Robinson will lead the probe, alongside Gambia’s chief justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice-president Leonard McCarthy, the bank’s board of governors said in a release on Wednesday.

The governors of the AfDB, one of the world’s five-largest multilateral development lenders, expressed ‘their complete confidence’ in the panel.

Robinson — a barrister by training — led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before serving as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002.

The inquiry is due to deliver its findings in two to four weeks.

The AfDB plays an important if a largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors.




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