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An independent panel, led by former Irish President Mary Robinson, has backed an African Development Bank probe that found no evidence of wrongdoing by its president, Akinwumi Adesina. This paves the way for him to seek a second term in office, his first term ends on August 31 and he is expected to run unopposed.

Whistleblowers had in January accused Adesina of abuses of office including favouritism in hiring fellow Nigerians, and giving out overly generous severance packages, allegation he had denied.

A report by the bank’s ethics board in April had cleared Adesina of the allegations, but the United States, AfDB’s second-largest shareholder, rejected the internal investigation and demanded an independent panel review the case.

The United States pushed for the original decision to be reviewed over reservations about the integrity of the bank’s process. This had put it at odds with the Nigeria, the bank’s largest shareholder, which had voiced support for Adesina.

The Mary Robinson led panel said in conclusion that the allegations against Adesina “were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee”.

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