A prominent Algerian businesswoman, allegedly an illegitimate child of ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison after being convicted of corruption.
An Algiers court also fined her six million dinars ($47,000) and ordered the confiscation of her properties, the official news agency APS said.
It said Zoulikha Nachinache, widely known as Madame Maya, was found guilty of money laundering, influence peddling, squandering public funds and illicit transfer of foreign currency abroad.
In the latest corruption case of the post-Bouteflika era, the court at the same time sentenced two ex-ministers, Mohamed Ghazi and Abdelghani Zaalane, as well as a former police chief, Abdelghani Hamel, to 10-year jail terms.
Nachinache’s two daughters were also jailed for five years.
The businesswoman argued in court that she was close to Bouteflika through her father who had been a friend of the president since before Bouteflika took office in 1999.
Her downfall came in July 2019, barely three months after Bouteflika’s ouster, when security services found a treasure trove during a search of her home in an upscale suburb of Algiers.
Investigators seized some $900,000 in Algerian dinars, 270,000 euros ($317,000), $30,000 dollars and 17 kilos (34 pounds) of gold jewellery.
Several ministers, senior government officials and businessmen have been convicted of corruption, including the elderly ex-president’s brother, Said Bouteflika, since he resigned in April 2019 under pressure from mass street protests against his two-decade-long rule.
The Federal Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the alleged diversion of funds meant for a school feeding programme into individual accounts.
Ministry spokesman Ben Bem Goong revealed this in a statement on Tuesday.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had earlier reported that the sum of N2.67 billion released to the 104 Unity Colleges during the COVID-19 lockdown for meal subsidies found its way into individual accounts.
“In response to queries issued by the Federal Ministry of Education, the Principals explained that payments on meal subsidies to Unity Colleges on the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, (GIFMIS) platform is designed to accommodate individual officers of those colleges who are officially recognized to receive such payments and disburse same to food vendors,” the Education Ministry statement said.
“This followed difficulties encountered by farmers, local food vendors and market women who do not have Tax Identification Numbers (TIN), PENCOM and other requirements to access the payment platform.
“The Principals also explained that payments made during the lockdown period had to do with debts owed food vendors even before COVID 19, some of which are still pending, adding that these debts arose from irregular and inadequate budgetary allocations and releases over the years.
“The investigation is to establish the veracity of the claims to ensure that there is no diversion of public funds or misappropriation of same.
“To this end, the Ministry in line with the Ministers directive is to collaborate effectively with officials of the ICPC to unearth the facts as well as find a lasting solution to the payment system for meal subsidies that will ensure accountability and transparency.”
Wahab Shittu, the counsel to the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday said his client never admitted to the allegations of corruption levelled against him.
In a statement, Shittu dismissed a report that Magu confessed to the panel that he was overzealous as EFCC chairman and begged for mercy, describing it as misleading.
According to the legal practitioner, the ex-EFCC boss did not admit guilt to corruption allegations, neither did he plead for mercy.
“At no time did Magu admit to guilt to the allegations, the subject matter of the inquiry. Indeed the only thing going for Magu is the conviction of his innocence,” Shittu said.
“A member of the panel had cause to inquire from me whether I am convinced that the panel will do justice to my client.
“I responded in the affirmative and I hope my optimism of the justice of the process at the end will not be illusory.”
Shittu said that as Nigerians wait on the Ayo Salami-led panel to do justice in this matter, commentators in the public space should comment based on facts and law.
The lawyer argued that the preoccupation of the inquiry is to reveal the truth without grandstanding, sensationalism, dramatisation or any attempt at coloration of the truth.
The danger is that these orchestrated stories in the public space may have the effect of shifting the real focus from the quest for facts and truth which is the real focus of the inquiry to sensationalism, half truths, propaganda which will neither benefit either Nigerians who are interested in the real facts and truth nor the panel members who have toiled for days to execute the assignment including the subject of inquiry whose proclamation of guilt or innocence will define his future career and his perception in the public space.
Magu is being investigated by a presidential panel over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets under his watch as acting chairman of the EFCC.
The ex-EFCC boss appeared before the panel last Friday to defend himself.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
Magu’s closing remarks to Salami panel twisted-Wahab Shittu
Our attention has been drawn to a misleading story in a certain online medium with a misleading headline – Magu confesses, Begs: I Was Overzealous as Acting Chair of EFCC, Please Save My Career.
We wish to state that this story was twisted fundamentally out of context by my client’s accusers who want to hit back at my client without justification.
It is true that Magu and my humble self -addressed the panel at the conclusion of his defence while Magu clarified that he threw himself to the job of acting chair because of his passion for the anti-corruption war, a situation that may be alleged overzealousness in some quarters.
He however pleaded for justice and fair-play by the panel members in the context of his overall achievements and his fledging career which hitherto remain unblemished and will terminate in two years’ time.
Counsel to Magu also urged the panel members in the interest of fear of God and loyalty to their conscience to ensure justice in the matter and concluded by thanking them for patience and understanding throughout the proceedings.
At no time did Magu admit to guilt to the allegations, the subject matter of the inquiry. Indeed the only thing going for Magu is his conviction of his innocence.
A member of the panel had cause to inquire from me whether I am convinced that the panel will do justice to my client? I responded in the affirmative and I hope my optimism of the justice of the process at the end will not be illusory.
As Nigerians wait on the Justice Salami- led judicial commission of inquiry to do justice in this matter, we call on commentators in the public space to comment based on facts and law and particularly based on the justice of the case.
The Judicial Commission Inquiry inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on 3rd July 2020 “……..For the Investigation of Mr Magu Ibrahim, The Ag. Chairman Of The EFCC For Alleged Abuse Of Office And Mismanagement Of Federal Government Recovered Assets And Finances From May 2015 To May 2020” has progressed appreciably with a lot of work and sacrifices by the members and all those connected to the inquiry.
The main preoccupation of the inquiry is to unearth the truth and nothing but the truth with no grandstanding, sensationalism, dramatization, or any attempt at the coloration of the truth. This is the major concern of all Nigerians. On Friday 25th of September 2020 after days of sittings, Mr. Ibrahim Magu the subject of the inquiry rendered all his defence in the proceedings, and ever since that development, a lot of stories have been flying around in the public space. The danger is that these orchestrated stories in the public space may have the effect of shifting the real focus from the quest for facts and truth which is the real focus of the inquiry to sensationalism, half-truths, propaganda which will neither benefit either Nigerians who are interested in the real facts and truth nor the panel members who have toiled for days to execute the assignment including the subject of inquiry whose proclamation of guilt or innocence will define his future career and his perception in the public space.
The above is the compelling need for these interventions as a law officer in the temple of justice who witnessed most of the proceedings from the beginning and actually served as counsel to the subject of inquiry.
In this intervention, I intend to be as fair and objective as possible owing my loyalty to the fear of God and my conscience.
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for collaborative efforts in tackling corruption, saying if the menace is not curbed, it will kill Nigeria.
Buhari stated this on Monday during the second National Summit of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and the inauguration of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy.
“As I have often reminded Nigerians, ‘If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria,” President Buhari said.
The President also recalled efforts he made as Military Head of State, stressing that he introduced the War Against Indiscipline (WAI).
“As a military Head of State, I fought corruption headlong and held public officers who abused their office or misused public funds to account.
“Furthermore, I introduced the War Against Indiscipline, one of whose cardinal objectives was promotion of our cherished culture of ethical conduct, integrity and hard work,” he said.
The President is of the opinion that when the three arms and the three levels of government work together, the government will be enabled to serve the country with the positive impact felt by the citizens.
The theme of the summit is “Together against corruption”.
The inauguration is to mark the commission’s 20th anniversary and Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given an assurance that his administration will use the remaining years in office to improve access to quality education, health care and enhance productivity.
These sum up the nine priority areas listed by President Buhari on Tuesday when he received the Letters of Credence from Ambassadors/High Commissioners of eight countries at the State House.
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said efforts are being made to sustain Nigeria’s position as profitable investment destination with unequalled incentives in all sectors, especially a large market and flexible tax system.
According to the President, the focus over the next few years will be to “build a thriving and sustainable economy; enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; enlarge agricultural output for food security and export; attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and expand transport and other infrastructural development.”
Other areas listed by President Buhari include expanding business growth and industrialization, access to quality education, affordable healthcare, and the fight against corruption.
He also assured the diplomats that Nigeria will remain steadfast in pursuing deeper and valuable relations among nations, without discrimination.
“In our efforts to achieve a realistic domestic and foreign policy, as well as national development, we have identified the following nine priority areas to guide our policy directions over the next few years.
“Build a thriving and sustainable economy; Enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; Enlarge agricultural output for food security and export; Attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and expand transport and other infrastructural development.
“Expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialization; Expand access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians; Build a system to fight corruption, improve governance and create social cohesion; and improve security for all,” he said.
Describing Nigerians as the “nation’s most prized assets’’, President Buhari said the nine priority mandates were already reflected in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, a medium-term initiative pioneered by the government to restore economic growth and development while leveraging the resourcefulness and resilience of the citizens.
The President urged the diplomats to use the opportunity of working in the country to improve relations with their governments and people.
Nobody is entitled to condemn Mr Ibrahim Magu before he is afforded the opportunity to defend himself in the corruption allegations levelled against him.
Mr Wahab Shittu, who is the lawyer to the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said this in a statement sent to Channels Television on Sunday.
He insisted that his client was innocent of the corruption allegations against him, although he has yet to be given the chance to prove his innocence.
The legal practitioner explained that the statement was in reaction to an online publication that the panel led by Justice Ayo Salami investigating Magu had recommended his sack and prosecution to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that following an earlier report of similar nature, the presidential panel advised them to ignore the story.
According to Shittu, the suspended EFCC boss is yet to formally present his defence and proceedings are ongoing, and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday.
He decried that despite repeated demands, his client has not been served with copies of allegations against him while the instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on him until 35 days after proceedings had commenced.
The lawyer added that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, whose memo triggered the proceedings, has yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against Magu.
Among other issues raised, Shittu said his client was unable to gain access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence due to his suspension from office.
While the presidential panel was investigating the allegations of corruption against Magu, President Buhari affirmed his suspension from office on July 10.
A statement from the government explained that the presidential directive was to allow for an unhindered inquiry by the panel under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws.
Read the full statement by Magu’s lawyer below:
23rd August 2020.
SALAMI PANEL CAN’T SUBMIT INTERIM REPORT WITHOUT HEARING FROM MAGU- WAHAB SHITTU
Gentlemen of the Press,
Based on press inquiries on my clients’ response to the story on TheCable news online medium captioned “Exclusive, Salami panel asks Buhari to fire, prosecute Magu for corruption”, we wish to state as follows:
We are unaware of the source of the story and we are actually shocked that such a false story is being orchestrated in the public space, contrary to the stage of ongoing proceedings before the panel. We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that our client is yet to formally present his defence. Proceedings are ongoing and witnesses are still lined up for next week beginning from Monday. Please note that the earlier report of similar import published by The Pilot was brought to the attention of the panel and we were advised by the chairman of the panel to ignore the story. Our attitude is also to ignore this latest story as falsehood not reflecting the realities on ground.
We all know that in spite of repeated demands, our client has not been served with copies of allegations against him.
The instrument embodying the Terms of Reference was not served on my client until August 8, 2020 (35 days after proceedings have commenced).
That the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), whose memo triggered the proceedings, is yet to be summoned to testify to support the allegations against our client. He who “asserts must prove”.
That our client was excluded from the initial stages of the proceedings with several witnesses testifying in his absence.
That counsel to our client was not allowed to cross-examine many of the witnesses who had testified until recently.
That our client is yet to be granted access to petitions/presentations, case files and exhibits admitted in the proceedings. Please note that we have written to the panel to that effect.
That our client was accosted on the street and compulsorily requested to appear “immediately” before the panel without opportunity to access documents to adequately prepare his defence.
That our client was subsequently detained for ten days after appearing before the panel in unpleasant circumstances. This detention is not covered by the Terms of Reference arising from the instrument constituting the judicial commission of inquiry.
That our client, owing to his suspension from office, is unable to have access to official documents and other information necessary for his defence.
That cases pending before superior courts of records such as Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and The Supreme Court are being reviewed in the proceedings. We believe that this development is subjudice and unhealthy for our jurisprudence.
That witnesses appearing before the panel were not sworn on oath before giving evidence as stipulated under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, 2004 on whose authority the instrument setting up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry is derived.
It is curious and worrisome that an administrative panel of inquiry headed by His Lordship, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, having sat and taken evidence (both oral and documentary) in the past one month, has suddenly metamorphosed into a Judicial Commission of Inquiry. How this comes within contemplation of a commission of the Tribunal of Inquiry Act, 2004 is very questionable.
We also raise serious objection to piecemeal release of the so-called interim report in the social media, particularly the WHISTLER online medium which claimed to have seen the interim report.
It is instructive to state that the online medium went ahead to recklessly engaged in libelous publication where it listed individuals, and companies that being investigated for corruption by the EFCC allegedly paid bribes to my client.
We are shocked that such a libelous publication against my client without hearing from him.
This panel must address this weighty issue before the commencement of today’s proceedings.
The Salami panel also revealed the identities of eight suspects that allegedly paid the bribes to Magu through pastor Omale and Shanono. Shanono allegedly received NGN570,698,500 from China Zhonghao Nigeria limited through the Zenith Bank account 1018895662 of his company, Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd. “The transfers were in about 43 tranches between 5th December 2014 and 23rd June, 2015. The china Zhonghao Coy is being investigated by the EFCC for abandoning a road contract awarded to the company by the Zamfara State Government between 2012 and 2019”, the panel noted. An aide to a formal managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nathniel Uyo, was alleged to have paid the sum of N10 million into an Ecobank Account Number 3912014141 of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry on 09/06/2018. The report said the former NDDC MD “was then being investigated by the EFCC over an alleged attempt to bribe members of the Akwa-Ibom State APC Appeal Committee in Abuja”. Pastor Omale, according to the Salami panel, also received N10 million from a Bureau De Change operator, 7*7 BDC Limited, through his Church’s Ecobank account. The report said that the BDC was being investigated by the EFCC for, “receiving over N1.6 billion (N1,600,000,000), part of the N27 billion (N27,000,000,000) Insurance Premiums looted during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan”. A former Chairman of the Niger State Pilgrims Agency, Liman Kantigi, who was being investigated by the EFCC for allegedly misappropriating funds during his tenure at the agency, also allegedly paid N200 million bribe to Magu through Shanono. Kantigi, through his company, Sadiq Air Travels, allegedly transferred N200 million into the Access Bank Account of Shanono’s company, the report said. Weeks before paying the alleged bribe, the EFCC was said to have traced N4 billion to two Guaranty Trust Bank accounts linked to Kantigi. A government contractor, A.G Ferrero & Co. had also allegedly paid N213 million to another company belonging to Shanono, Newttech Aluminium and Roofing Service Ltd. “A.G Ferrero & Co. was a contractor to Jigawa State Government during the tenure fo Sule Lamido between 2007 and 2013. Lamido was investigated by the EFCC during the period”. The report said. The Salami panel said Pastor Omale, through his Church, also received N1.3 million from the company being investigated for alleged link to EFCC’s N1.5 billion money laundering case against a former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye. According to the panel, “Apartment Le Paradisi transferred One million three hundred and twenty thousand naira (N1,320,000.00) into Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry Eco Bank Account Number 3912014143, on 22/04/2014. The company had testified before the EFCC, in respect of a case involving the former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye who was then being investigated for laundering about One billion five hundred million naira (N1,500,000,000.00). Former Plateau State Governor, Jonah Jang, was alleged to have paid N30,744,000 to Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Limited over his investigation for alleged looting of N6.3 billion while serving as governor of the state. Senator Jonah David Jang transferred the sum of thirty million seven hundred and forty-four thousand naira (N30,744,000.00) into the UBA account Number 1018895662 of Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono Investment Ltd, on 18th July 2016. Senator Jang, a former Governor of Plateau State is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged looting of Six Billion three hundred million naira (N6.3bn) belonging to Plateau State Government”, said the report”.
The entirety of the publication above is first-class falsehood from the pit of hell. None of the issues arose from the proceedings of the judicial commission of inquiry. I recall Pastor Omale appearing before the panel to confirm openly that none of the transfers into the church’s accounts emanated from Magu and that Magu never donated to his personal or church account. It is also instructive to note that no character by the name Shanono ever appeared before the judicial commission of inquiry. The purveyors of this fake news may assume they are destroying the sterling image of Magu, but I have news for them. Majority of Nigerians however cannot be fooled. I can only refer to the testimony of former SGF Babachir Lawal on Magu thus
“But now in the case of Magu, the narrative is that corruption is fighting back. These are the impressions and the consequences of such conducts. Initially, I had the feeling that the system would come after Magu, especially the press and social media. If you are very discerning, you will know they are with him. The preponderance of opinions is in support of Magu’s position. The views being laid out are as if it is a witch-hunt. There are better ways to end Magu’s reign because no matter what anybody tells you, Magu tried. I used to joke that if you are a thief and you are caught by Magu, nobody can release you unless you cut off his hands. – Culled from The Punch Newspapers.
THISDAY front-page lead story of Sunday 23rd August 2020 in a banner headline reported “Magu May Face More Investigations, Criminal Prosecution”
I am at a loss of how the paper arrived at this conclusion when it is clear to all that the only thing going for Magu is his innocence. We will not join further issues on the publication with the paper at this stage.
We wish to confirm that the proceedings are still ongoing, and my client is yet to present his defence. We are therefore shocked at the suggestion that an interim report has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari. We all know that this is a democracy anchored on respect for the rule of law. Central to the rule of law is the element of fair hearing.
Section 36(1) of 1999 Constitution (as amended) is explicit on this. It provides;
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”
We urge those bent on prejudicing the proceedings of the panel by planting false stories in the public space to think of the interest of our country and not prejudge our client whose commitment all along is service to the country.
The only thing keeping our client going in spite of the desire of mischief-makers to pitch him unfairly against the authorities is his conviction of his innocence.
Please no one is entitled to condemn our innocent client before he is heard or before he is afforded the opportunity of defending himself on the merits.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, denying the allegations of corruption levelled against him.
This follows a call from a coalition of Civil Society Organisations asking President Buhari to probe the AGF over 14 high-profile corruption cases and calling for his resignation.
The allegations levelled against Malami, by the CSOs include “financial fraud” and “influence peddling”, as well as “illegally” auctioning sea vessels holding crude oil seized by the Federal Government.
But the minister wrote to the presidency, insisting that he had declared all his assets and statements of accounts upon his assumption of office.
He writes, “Since my appointment as a Minister in your cabinet, I have conducted myself strictly within the confines of the Code of Conduct for public officers contained in part 1 of the fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended.”
“It is to be noted that apart from my successful legal practice of more than 20 years, seven of which were as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), before my appointment, I have as allowed by law had interests in business ventures, all of which I had resigned from active participation upon my appointment,” he added.
Also in the letter, the Minister said he has also decided to seek redress in court.
The Minister has been accused of being behind the ordeals of the former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, after criticising some of his actions.
Magu, who was quizzed by the Department of State Services (DSS) on July 6, was made to appear before a panel of the Federal Government set up to investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against him.
The panel led by the retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami grilled Magu for about 10 days before granting him bail on July 15.
Following Magu’s reported arrest, many Nigerians and groups reacted to the development, with some commending the Federal Government’s approach to the war against corruption.
Although Magu denied any wrongdoing, a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Femi Odekunle said the DSS invitation is a power play by blocs in the corridor of power.
According to the PACAC member, Magu was only invited for questioning regarding some purported memo by the Minister of Justice.
He explained that the Presidential Advisory Committee perceives Malami as the arrowhead of the bloc that is not really interested in President Buhari’s anti-corruption fight.
Former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has bemoaned the deterioration of values in society.
The former Minister, in a video posted online Sunday, was speaking at a virtual conference organised by an umbrella body of Ijaw cultural associations, the Ijaw Development Group (INDG).
“The ones that have swag, the Yahoo Yahoo boys as my son would say, these, in short, are the role models they are looking at,” she said. “These are the ones that reinforce negative societal norms and values.
“This is a travesty of an unfolding tragedy for us. Why have I spent time talking about fatherless homes and the impact it has on our children? The truth of the matter is that an irresponsible boy tends to become an irresponsible man and it is therefore a vicious cycle. If you plant coco-yam, you cannot harvest plantain.”
Former Petroleum Minister, Dieziani Alison-Madueke, has surfaced oooo. She spoke on Fatherhood, and making a case for Ijaw Women’s voice to be heard, praised GEJ for the chance he gave women in his Govt. This was in August 7, 2020 virtual event of Ijaw National Dev Group. Pt 1 pic.twitter.com/b0KFratkWa
A former top banker in China pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally receiving over $12 million after being caught last year in President Xi Jinping’s sweeping campaign against corruption.
Hu Huaibang, former party secretary and chairman of the China Development Bank, had taken advantage of his positions to illegally receive money and goods worth a total of 85.5 million yuan ($12.2 million) between 2009 and 2019, heard a court in northern Chengde city.
The accusations included using his status — and staff in other countries — to help obtain and increase bank credit lines, set up an auto finance company, and assist with job promotions, reported the state-run People’s Daily.
Hu pleaded guilty at the hearing attended by more than 30 people including national, provincial and municipal people’s congress representatives, the report added.
He will be sentenced at a later date.
More than one million officials have been punished in Xi’s crackdown on corruption, though critics say it has also served as a way for him to purge political rivals.
Hu had worked his way up China’s financial sector, moving between regulatory positions and state-owned companies before landing the top job at the Bank of Communications.
In 2013 he became chairman of China Development Bank and held the position until September 2018.
But his connection to fallen Chinese oil tycoon Ye Jianming, chairman of CEFC China Energy, appeared to have landed him in trouble.
In Hu’s roles at the Bank of Communications and the CDB, he allegedly helped CEFC secure billions in credit lines for its overseas deals.
An independent panel of experts, headed by former Irish president Mary Robinson, has cleared the beleaguered leader of the African Bank of Development (AfDB) of corruption, according to a report obtained by AFP.
Akinwumi Adesina, 60, a charismatic speaker known for his elegant suits and bow ties, became the first Nigerian to helm the AfDB in 2015 — but a 15-page report earlier this year claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment and favouritism.
The panel of three experts, led by Robinson alongside Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice president Leonard McCarthy, cleared Adesina of all charges alleged by whistleblowers.
“The Panel concurs with the Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee,” Monday’s report concluded.
The African banking institution and Adesina — who is the sole candidate for the bank’s August’s presidential elections — has been battered by the rollercoaster of allegations after the whistleblowers’ complaints were leaked to the media in April.
The former Minister of Agriculture had always stated he was “innocent” of the charges.
Robinson — who led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before serving as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002 — dismissed the 16 whistleblower allegations against Adesina.
The panel did not investigate the charges themselves, as that was not within their mandate.
The AfDB plays an important if the largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors.