Civil society feels the issue treated unduly, worries about Grameen Bank; US still hopeful
The High Court treated the issue of Prof Muhammad Yunus’ removal from Grameen Bank with a narrow mindset, economists and civil society members yesterday said.
They said the court did not consider his contribution to development, poverty alleviation and improving the image of the country.
However, they still believe that Prof Yunus will be treated as he should be, considering the greater interest of the country. They also fear that unscrupulous players in and outside the bank may now thrive to cash in on the situation.
They said the Nobel prize winner’s removal from the bank would neither benefit the bank, poverty alleviation efforts nor the country as a whole.
“The judgement may be technically correct, but not morally,” said Binayak Sen, an economist. “We expected a better sort of a judgement considering his contribution to the country,” he noted.
Hafizuddin Khan, a former adviser to a caretaker government, said he is unclear on what grounds the court rejected Prof Yunus’ petition. But the judgement was not too unexpected as he sensed the ill intention of the government.
Hafizuddin was concerned about the repercussions of Prof Yunus’ removal, not only at the bank but also in the microcredit industry.
In its ruling the High Court yesterday said Prof Yunus was wrongly reappointed as the managing director of Grameen Bank in 1999, as it was not approved by the central bank.
The court also agreed to Bangladesh Bank’s argument that Prof Yunus had violated the country’s retirement laws by staying on at his job long past the mandatory retirement age limit of 60.
Prof Yunus is 70 now.
Seven days ago, Bangladesh Bank issued a letter to the Grameen Bank board asking it to remove Prof Yunus from the post of managing director of Grameen Bank, of which he is the founder. Later, Prof Yunus went to court for justice.
“Age is not a big problem for him. He is still a creative and innovative man and not exhausted,” said Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank.
Hossain Zillur Rahman, former adviser to a caretaker government, and Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Policy Dialogue, said they are sorry to see such a disgraceful treatment of a man like Prof Yunus who has brought immense prestige to the nation.
“We need to keep in mind the greater interest. The development surrounding Prof Yunus would neither strengthen Grameen Bank, poverty alleviation efforts nor the country’s image at the international arena,” said Hossain Zillur Rahman, also a leading economist.
Prof Mustafizur Rahman said, “We’ve demeaned him [Yunus], whose development experience has been spread out across the world and considered as a model.”
Mustafizur expected a better treatment of Yunus and transition of power at the bank. The way the issue is being settled is not a praiseworthy one, he said.
Sultana Kamal, another former adviser to a caretaker government, said she hopes everything concerning Prof Yunus will be dealt with due process and without any political motive.
The United States still hopes that an acceptable compromise could be figured out of the conundrum of Nobel laureate Prof Yunus’ post in Grameen Bank, UNB reports.
After the High Court verdict that dismissed Prof Yunus’ writ, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Dhaka told UNB that they are monitoring the situation.
Courtesy of The Daily Star