Law proposed to remove yunus from Grameen bank
In a statement yesterday, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the government was bent on destroying the Grameen Bank.
Recently, on BBC interview, the Prime Minister strongly defended her government’s position in relation to the Grameen Bank’s role in charging high interest. Whilst the Prime Minister avoided directly blaming Dr Yunus in answer to a direct question by the presenter, the Prime Minister, nonetheless expressed her clear reservations about Grameen Bank.
Her view and reservations on the issue of the Bank and those running it has now been formally actioned by her Cabinet on Thursday through it’s approved of a proposal allowing the Government to appoint managing d
irector of the bank. The President, Zillur Rahman, is expected to promulgate an ordinance soon to this effect when parliament resumes.
The new legislation would delegate the chairman more authority to pick the managing director, changing the bank’s structure. The bank’s borrowers comprise 75% of its shareholders while the government holds 25%.
However, on the other hand, the Prime Minister’s view as expressed through her BBC interview was not shared by the Opposition. Sharply reacting to the government’s plan, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that the government was hatching a heinous plot against the Grameen Bank “out of personal animosity” towards Nobel Prize laureate Mohammad Yunus. In the view of the Opposition, expressed through Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the government was trying to take its revenge by harming the Grameen Bank, an organisation which protected the interests of millions of poor.
The government will also examine the legality of Yunus staying on in the office beyond the mandated age of 60 and also ordered a fresh
investigation into the activities and financial transactions in his later years as managing director.
Grameen Bank was founded in 1983 through a martial law ordinance. Dr. Yunus remained its managing director from the beginning, but in 2011, the central bank raised questions about his being in the post over the retirement age.
The campaign against Yunus has been building for years now. It has included a summons to appear in court to face charges that social business ventures resulted in the sale of contaminated yoghurt and accusations from Hasina that Yunus was “sucking blood from the poor”. This was also a question put to the Prime Minister during her recent TV interview with BBC.
Yunus has also had to answer claims in a television documentary last year that Grameen transferred funds from Norway’s aid agency in the 1990s from one legal entity to another for tax purposes. The Norwegian government said an inquiry had found no evidence of misuse of money.
The Bangladeshi finance minister, Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, called Yunus a “man of high standing and respect” but “now old” and said the bank needed “closer regulation”.
www.banglanews.com staff reporter