Ireland’s former president Mary Robinson will lead
a panel to investigate the leader of the African Development Bank (AfDB),
accused by whistleblowers of corruption, the bank said.
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
He was cleared by the organisation’s ethics
committee, but international pressure has mounted with the United States
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 United Nations 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 largely
behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture,
health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors.