Friday December 08, 2023

AIIB internal review throws out CCP's control allegations

AIIB's former communications director had alleged that it was "dominated by Communist Party" members

By Web Desk
July 07, 2023
A man walks past the logo of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at the headquarters in Beijing on June 15, 2023. — AFP
A man walks past the logo of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at the headquarters in Beijing on June 15, 2023. — AFP 

An internal review of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) dismissed the claims of a former employee alleging that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had control over the bank.

Last month, Canadian citizen Bob Pickard, who worked as AIIB's communications director, posted on social media claiming that the bank was "dominated by Communist Party" members and had a "toxic culture".

Qatar-based media channel Al Jazeera reported on Friday that AIIB’s General Counsel Alberto Ninio said there was “no evidence to support or validate” the former chief of communications claims. However, he shared that the review did identify multiple recommendations, including strengthening pre-recruitment screening and staff grievance procedures.

“The Internal Review confirms that AIIB’s governance structure functions as intended to deliver an apolitical, constructive, balanced and consensus-oriented decision culture,” Ninio said in a statement.

While AIIB Vice President Danny Alexander told wire service Reuters that the allegations are "without any foundation".

"Mr [Bob] Pickard's allegations have been exhausted through this review ... and found to be without any foundation whatsoever," Alexander told the wire service.

When asked for his comment on the review, Pickard said: "I do not believe this dishonest and inaccurate report seriously investigated my core concern of Communist Party influence."

However, Pickard told Al Jazeera that he was cooperating with the Canadian government’s inquiries into his resignation.

Set up by President Xi Jinping in 2016 as a Chinese alternative to the World Bank and other Western-led multilateral lenders, the AIIB has 106 members worldwide, including Pickard's home nation of Canada, which began its inquiry.

"We have a direct relationship with the People's Republic of China as a shareholder, just as we do with the United Kingdom or Canada," Alexander said when asked about the AIIB's relationship with Beijing, which he added was the same as its ties with the British or Canadian governments.

"We regard Canada as an important member of our bank... we look forward to the outcome of their own review and working with them for many years to come," he added.

The Canadian government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.