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How Ethics Committee Cleared AfDB President Adesina – Full Report

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AfDB: U.S. govt demands fresh probe into allegations against Adesina

Inside AfDB ‘whistleblower’ allegations against Akinwumi Adesina

The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) acted in line with established rules in clearing the president of the bank, Akinwunmi Adesina, of allegations of impropriety and fraud, PREMIUM TIMES findings have shown.

The allegations were raised in January in a petition by a group of concerned staff of the bank.

The committee, headed by Takuji Yano, the institution’s Japan Executive Director, investigated the allegations and in its report on May 5 cleared Mr Adesina of all the 16 counts.

The committee dismissed the allegations as “spurious and unfounded.”

Regardless, on May 22, the United States government expressed “deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process” and called for a fresh “in-depth investigation of the allegations.”

In a letter to the Chairperson, Board of Governors of the AfDB Group, Nialé Kaba, the Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, faulted the Committee’s decision to exonerate Mr Adesina of all allegations.

Mr Mnuchin said Mr Adesina should not be declared innocent until an “independent outside investigator of high professional standing” has undertaken an evaluation of the facts of the allegations.

Due process

But, a review of the provisions of Article 3 of Resolution No. B/BG/2008/11 of the Bank and the Bank’s “Whistleblowing and Complaints Handling Policy” obtained exclusively by PREMIUM TIMES on Monday showed the committee followed due process before handing in its verdict.

The Board of Governors of the Bank in its resolution No. B/BG/2008/11 adopted at the 43rd Annual Meeting held on May 14, 2008 made the Code of Conduct for its Executive Directors and those of the African Development Fund (ADF) also applicable to the President of the Bank Group.

Article 3 of the resolution empowered the Ethics Committee to “conduct a preliminary examination of a complaint or allegation received by it to determine whether it is based on apparently solid justifications, with a view to submitting it to the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors.”

The resolution also gave the conditions under which the Committee should make a submission to the Board of Governors after its preliminary examination.

If the preliminary examination of the complaint or allegation reveals it was “frivolous or not based on any objective and solid facts”, the resolution empowered the Committee to dismiss it.

On the other hand, it said if the preliminary examination of the complaint or allegations revealed facts capable of establishing violations of the Code of Conduct, the Committee was empowered to submit the complaints or allegations to the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors for further examination.

Due process timelines

The committee received an email from the “Group of Concerned Staff Members” on January 19, titled “Disclosure of Acts Related to Alleged Breach of the Code of Ethics by an Elected Officer.”

A copy of the mail was sent to the Director of the Integrity & Anti-Corruption office (PIAC) of the Bank, the Chairperson of the Audit and Finance Committee (AUFI).

The committee immediately drew the attention of the Board of Directors of the Bank to the petition.

But, to determine which, between the Audit and Finance Committee (AUFI) of the Board and the Director of the Integrity and Anti-corruption Office (PIAC), had the legal mandate to handle the complaint, a restricted meeting of the Board was held.

On February 4, the Committee approached the General Counsel of the Bank to seek not only further clarification on its mandate but to solicit the legal advice on the admissibility of the petition form as filed.

The meeting was in addition to the oral evidence received by the Committee from the Director of the Anti-corruption & Integrity Office, and the Bank’s Auditor-General.

The following day, the Committee at an informal meeting conducted a point-by-point examination of all the allegations to confirm their substantive validity.

At the end of the meeting, the committee resolved to write to the petitioners for additional information on their allegations.

On February 7, the Committee formally sent a copy of the petition to Mr Adesina and demanded his official response.

On February 14, the Committee sent an email to the petitioners to request additional information to sustain their allegations.

However, in their response the following day, the petitioners declined the committee’s request, opting to maintain their anonymity. They argued that providing any further evidence would uncover their identities.

On February 10, Mr Adesina’s legal counsel sent a letter to the Committee on the matter. A similar letter was also sent on March 10.

However, the Committee decided to ignore the letters on the ground that Mr Adesina did not inform it the letters were from his legal representative.

Consequently, between February 27 and April 9, the committee held about five meetings to examine the 16 allegations contained in the petition.

On April 8, the committee received a memorandum from Mr Adesina conveying his response to the petition, which was transmitted to the Board of Governors, accompanied with other documents on the matter.

Committee report

On completion of the preliminary review of all the allegations in the petition, the Committee in its report to the Chairman, Board of Governors, dismissed them, having established they were “not based on any objective and solid facts” pursuant to Resolution No. B/BG/2008/11.

Besides, the committee drew the attention to Article 4 of Resolution No. B/BG/2008/11 which vests in the Chairman of the Board the prerogative to act in consultation with other members to finally determine whether or not a reasonable basis exists to pursue the allegations against Mr Adesina further.

Akinwumi Adesina has been accused by a group of anonymous whistleblowers within the organisation of handing contracts to acquaintances and appointing relatives to strategic positions at the bank, allegations he has consistently denied.

Adesina, a former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was elected as the 8th President of the AFDB on Thursday, May 28, 2015.

He succeeded Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, and assumed duty on September 1, 2015 in Abidjan

(Premium Times, with additional reports by SunriseNigeria)

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Man punches nurse in the face multiple times after his wife is vaccinated for Covid

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Police are looking for a man in Canada they say punched a nurse in the face multiple times, knocking her to the ground after she administered a Covid-19 vaccine to his wife without his permission.

On Monday, around 9:15 a.m., a man walked into a Brunet Pharmacy in Sherbrooke, a city in southern Quebec, and accused a nurse in her 40s, who police have not named, of vaccinating his wife, Sherbrooke Police spokesman Martin Carrier told CNN.

“Right at the beginning, the suspect was very angry, very aggressive, he asked the nurse why she vaccinated his wife without approval, without his consent,” Carrier said. “And he punched her right in the face multiple times so the nurse didn’t have the time to defend or explain herself … and she fell to the ground and the suspect left running out of the drugstore.”

There are no laws in Canada that say individuals need their spouses’ permission to get vaccinated, and it is unclear if his wife had given consent.

The nurse was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance where she was treated for the “multiple injuries to the face” he said.

As a result of the incident, the pharmacy told CNN partner, CBC, that they suspended vaccinations. CNN reached out to the pharmacy but they refused to comment on whether or not vaccinations were being administered Thursday.

Brunet Pharmacy’s parent company, The Jean Coutu Group Inc., also declined to comment but told CNN they “fully condemn this act which is unacceptable towards the pharmacy teams who have been providing essential services since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Canada has vaccinated 69.8% of its population, surpassing the US by 15.6%, according to data from Our World in Data, seen in CNN’s vaccine tracker.

Although most Canadians have welcomed public health measures and the country has one of the highest vaccination rates worldwide, case counts and hospitalizations are on the rise, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, especially among younger, unvaccinated Canadians.

Police do not have a name or photo of the suspect or security footage of the incident, Carrier said. They do however have a description of the man and are hoping with the public’s help, they’ll be able to identify him and charge him with assault.

The suspect is described as, 30 to 45-year-old-man, 6-feet tall, medium build with darker skin, short brown hair, thick eyebrows, two small ear piercings on each ear and a tattoo on his hand that appeared to be in the shape of a cross, Carrier said

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NPA vows to upgrade country’s maritime hub status

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Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation

In a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by NPA General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Mr Olaseni Alakija, Bello-Koko disclosed this in Abeokuta, Ogun,  at the first retreat for the reconstituted board of directors.

The theme of the retreat was “Expanding the Frontiers of Service Excellence.”

He noted that investments in modern deep seaports would attract very large merchant vessels with the attendant multiple socio-economic benefits, as well as boost port revenue performance.

The statement said Bello-Koko disclosed that a lot had been done, especially in the last few months, to resolve most of the identified constraints to the efficient movement of cargoes to and from ports.

Such efforts, he said, were in line with the new direction and measures being put in place to actualise NPA’s aspirations,

“Nigeria accounts for about 70 per cent of cargoes imported into West and Central Africa and the country controls an impressive stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.

“Nigeria’s rich aquatic endowments and her border with landlocked nations makes development of deep seaports a huge potential revenue earner for the nation.

“The move towards earning the status of hub in the region is in line with our new vision statement.

“This was adopted at the recent NPA Management retreat with the theme ‘To Be The Maritime Logistics Hub For Sustainable Port System In Africa,” he said.

The statement said the acting managing director described the board retreat as very timely, as it signposts a unity of purpose and shared vision.

According to him, the vision is one in which the executive management works closely with every section, unit, department, division and directorate and embraces an all-inclusive strategic outcome for the organisation with the requisite buy-in of the board.

“In appreciation of this, I will like to crave the understanding of the board with regards to the executive management’s limitations in actualising some of our goals and objectives, which I am sure distinguished board members must have noticed in the course of the tour of ports that preceded this retreat,” he added.

The NPA boss informed the board that recent interventions made by the authority had led to significant improvement in terms of ship and cargo dwell time at the ports.

He, however, explained that some of the benchmarks which were yet to be achieved were dependent on “externalities and variables” that required concerted inter-agency actions.

He said that NPA, despite dogged efforts, has yet to optimally achieve the said benchmarks due to systemic administrative constraints and red-tape.

He enumerated the constraints as conflicting directives from the agencies operating within the ports and reporting to different supervising ministries with jurisdictional overlaps and duplications of functions.

He informed the board that concerted efforts were being made to expand NPA’s revenue streams, in addition to revenue from traditional port operations.

According to him, unlike the practice in sister Francophone countries where government funds the dredging of ports, the NPA was responsible for funding its.

This, he said, has put a lot of strains on its resources and capacity to invest in critical port infrastructure.

“We are facing decaying port infrastructure, for example, sections of the quay aprons or walls at the Tin Can Island Port, Onne, Delta and Calabar Ports are collapsing and require huge funds to repair them.

“With the increasing pressure to remit more revenue to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the federation, it has become very difficult to have sufficient funds to attend to these decaying facilities.

“There is then the need to explore alternative funding sources outside the traditional port service offerings,” he stated.

Bello-Koko explained that the authority was blessed with prime real estates which could serve as alternative funding sources outside the regular budget.

“NPA has a lot of high value landed properties in Onne, Snake Island, and Takwa Bay that are designated free trade zones.

* Apapa Wharf

“They are mostly allocated but burdened by poor arterial road network and other infrastructure to make them attractive for private investments which would bring good revenue to the authority and the Federal Government.

“Management will need the support of the board to drive the process of alternative revenue sources to actualise the lofty aspirations of the authority,” he said.

The Acting MD also disclosed that management had opened correspondence with some multilateral financial institutions such as the French Development Agency (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB), European Investment Bank (EIB) and Sanlam Infraworks (a Central Bank of Nigeria approved fund manager for InfraCorp).

He explained that these were all part of plans to access long term low interest credits for port infrastructure upgrades and expansion.

“In making the Nigerian seaports more business friendly, we have been able to deploy technology to address the perennial traffic gridlock that has been frustrating the conduct of business around the Lagos ports corridor.

“A software application code named “eto” is gradually restoring sanity to trucking business despite the initial teething problems and resistance by vested interests hitherto profiting from the chaos.

“The authority has accredited 33 private truck terminals within the Lagos area, in addition to the Lily Pond Truck Transit Park and Tin Can Island Port Truck Transit Park, to ensure trucks do not park indiscriminately on the access roads.

“The trucks would only be allowed to transit to the port after obtaining electronic tickets via the “eto” call-up platform and the authority is collaborating with the Lagos State Government to ensure enforcement and compliance with the e-call up system, he said.

He added that other solutions being implemented was the push to link all seaports to the national rail network, as well as optimise the use of the inland waterways through the transfer of cargo or containers via barges.

Bello-Koko said that currently the authority was streamlining barge operations to ensure efficiency, safety and cost effective cargo delivery for increased port revenue.

He said that the Bonny Seaport project in Rivers, boosted by two major railway projects, would massively transform the economic landscape of the country, particularly the South-South and South-Eastern regions.

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BREAKING: Former CBN Deputy Governor Obadiah Mailafia Dies at 64

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A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, has passed on at the age of 64.

Mailafia, who was a columnist with The PUNCH was said to have died at midnight after a brief illness.

The former deputy governor, who was the Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the 2019 election, was a known government critic and had advocated for public sector and exchange rate reforms.

Mailafia was born on December 24, 1956, in the Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He later graduated top of his class at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1978 with a First Class B.Sc.Honours Social Sciences degree (Politics, Economics, and Sociology). He also has an M.Sc. from the same institution.

He subsequently won a French Government Scholarship to France, where he earned a Certificate in French Language and Civilisation from the University of Clermont-Ferrand in 1985.

Mailafia later proceeded to the United Kingdom as a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Scholar at Oriel College, earning a DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1995.

He joined partisan politics in 2018 amid the rising killings in Southern Kaduna.

Despite losing, he remained an ardent government critic and got into trouble with the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), when he alleged that a northern governor was a Boko Haram commander.

This earned multiple invitations by the Nigeria Police Force, forcing him to recant his statement.

In his last interview with The PUNCH, Mailafia said the refusal of the CBN to sell foreign exchange to bureau de change operators may not yield the expected result because corrupt bankers would frustrate it while the BDC operators were being shielded by a “Jigawa cabal”.

He had also lamented that Nigeria was operating a “dollarised” economy which was hampering economic growth.

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