Saturday, July 13, 2024

Yunus ‘removed’

Central Bank issues letter to Grameen Bank; Grameen terms it a legal issue, insists the Nobel hero still holds office
Dr Muhammad Yunus, the man who brought a Nobel Prize for Bangladesh, and the most celebrated living Bangladeshi around the globe, was unceremoniously relieved of his duties at Grameen Bank yesterday through a Bangladesh Bank letter.
The central bank said Yunus failed to seek its approval when he was reappointed as the managing director in 2000, violating one of the statutes of the partly state-owned (25 percent) Grameen Bank. Now 11 years later the central bank suddenly woke up to the issue and hurried to “remedy” the situation.
But his removal was disputed by Grameen, which said his position was legal. And the matter now seems set to roll into the courtroom as a statement of the Grameen Bank indicated yesterday.
It said, “This [removal] is a legal issue. Grameen Bank is taking legal advice. The Hon’ble Finance Minister has himself stated yesterday [Tuesday] that it is a legal issue. Grameen Bank has been duly complying with all applicable laws. It has also complied with the law in respect of appointment of the Managing Director. According to the Bank’s Legal Advisors, the founder of Grameen Bank, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, is accordingly continuing in his office.”
With his forced exit, the microfinance institution’s journey of over 30 years enters a different stage. Yunus had started his lone campaign to provide loans to the poor, who had always been overlooked by the traditional banks, from his home village of Jobra in Chittagong. Defeating all sceptics, he not only proved that the poor are bankable, but he could turn it into an international movement. Countries across the world, including the USA, China, and India embraced his model of microfinance.
With his sheer energy, international repute and style, Yunus managed to raise Grameen, that started with two staff, to a level where it now has 20,000 employees and 83.5 lakh borrowers. It has distributed Tk 60,400 crore in loans as of January, and has also created 18 other affiliated social concerns.
Of late, Yunus had a different vision of the world where poverty would cease to exist, and businesses would embrace a new model after the failing of the profit-and-profit-only capitalist architecture. He then innovated the notion of social business, at the centrepiece of which lays the idea that people would invest not for profit but for social cause. The equity holders would not take profit out of ventures, but reinvest it for greater social cause. Grameen’s social business partnerships with global brands such as Adidas and Danone, have secured employment for more than 30,000 people.
Yunus was in the thick of the heat with the sudden broadcast of a documentary film on a Norwegian TV channel which alleged that Grameen had transferred donor’s money, given to Grameen Bank, to another sister organisation. The allegation was widely circulated in Bangladesh on the day the documentary was broadcast, through an online news portal. Later, Norway refuted the allegations saying no irregularities or corruption had taken place.
It is now believed that an orchestrated campaign started against Yunus with a section of the media publishing fabricated stories one after another. At the same time, political heat was fanned with politicians belonging to Awami League making flaring comments.
The smear campaign reached its zenith when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, on her return from the United Nations, said microfinanciers “suck blood out of the poor in the name of eradicating poverty”.
“We cannot allow use of the poor people as guinea pigs,” she said.
Many observers say Yunus attracted the ire of Awami League and other political parties when he made a failed attempt to float a political party during the military-backed caretaker government, at a time when political leaders were being arrested wholesale and put in jail. Many think Awami League still holds Yunus as a potential political rival.
But the way the government tried to disgrace Yunus, stunned many — both at home and abroad. The international community soon rallied behind the man who many consider as the capitalists’ new hero.
Former Irish president Mary Robinson who launched a platform, Friends of Grameen, said there is a campaign of politically orchestrated attacks on the Nobel laureate.
“Some highly visible private microcredit experiences turned themselves into financially lucrative enterprises, in countries like Mexico and others. Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank paved the way more than 30 years ago for a sustainable model, with very transparent and reasonable interest rates, and making borrowers the owners of their bank,” Robinson said.
The US and UK governments also made it clear to the Bangladesh government that they do not want to see the Nobel Peace Prize winner disgraced.
The Bangladesh government denied claims of a political vendetta, but what is beyond doubt is the ferocity, and at times personal nature of the attacks.
In her statements which set the ball rolling against Yunus, Hasina said, “I think there must be an extensive probe into the matter, to find out if there was any unauthorised fund transfer by him [Yunus].”
She said it is time to know what has been going on in the name of poverty alleviation, and improving the fate of the poor.
“What happened in the Grameen Bank was just a trick, and this was done to evade tax, nothing else. Bangladesh sometimes sets examples in different fields. You can think of this also as an example. Nobody can hide the truth for long … Truth will definitely come out,” Hasina went on.
She said microfinanciers nurse poverty to make quick money, which is a bad luck of the poor people. She said the government has a 25 percent stake in Grameen, but it seems that this bank is solely owned by one person.
Whatever might have been the reasons for the castigation of the father of microcredit, it is for sure that Bangladesh’s image abroad will be deeply dented through this action of disgraceful removal of Yunus.
After all, Yunus not only brought a Nobel Prize for Bangladesh, but also received almost all the most known prestigious recognitions, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the King Abdul Aziz Medal, and the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
And he was given the rare honour of delivering a lecture at the joint meeting of the members of Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha in the Indian parliament in 2009.
The House of Representatives of the US government unanimously passed a bill in 2010 to award Yunus the Congressional Gold Medal.
Several universities around the world set up microfinance departments, and Yunus Centres.

What the letter says
As prior approval was not obtained from Bangladesh Bank under Section 14(1) of the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 while reappointing Prof Muhammad Yunus as the managing director of Grameen Bank, it is not legal for him to stay in the post and carry out his duties. Prof Yunus has been relieved of his duties as Grameen Bank’s managing director because of the legal breach.

The letter was sent to Grameen Chairman Khondoker Muzammel Huq.

 

Courtesy of The Daily Star

Related News

Eid-ul-Azha on June 17

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The holy Eid-ul-Azha will be celebrated in Bangladesh on June 17 (Monday) as the crescent moon of the Zilhaj month was sighted in Bangladesh’s sky on Friday evening (7 June). The National Moon Sighting Committee came up with the decision after reviewing information about the sighting of the moon at a ... Read more

Cyclone Remal: 40 dead animals found, 17 rescued hurt in Sundarbans

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The forest department officials on Tuesday said that so far they found 39 dead deer and a pig in the Sundarbans after the severe cyclone Remal that hit the forest on Sunday. Primarily they have estimated infrastructural damage of Tk 6.27 crore in the forest while the total damage, including animals ... Read more

Cyclone Remal claims at least 14 lives, affects nearly 37.58 lakh people in 19 districts

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Following its devastating impact into Bangladesh on Sunday night, Cyclone Remal has affected over 37.58 lakh people in 19 districts and taken at least 14 lives. While the cyclone has weakened into a deep depression, hundreds of villages in the southern parts of the country remain submerged. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department ... Read more

Alert issued as Cyclone Remal develops

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A weather alert has been issued by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) as a low-pressure system in the southwest and west central Bay of Bengal gains strength, potentially developing into Cyclone Remal by Saturday. The system, currently moving northeastward, is expected to transform into a depression by early Friday. By Saturday, ... Read more

Cyclone ‘Remal’ likely to hit Bangladesh coasts on 26 May: Meteorologist

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Cyclone Remal is likely to make landfall between 6:00am and 12:00pm on 26 May in Bangladesh, affecting coastal areas from the Barguna in Barishal Division to Cox’s Bazar in the Chattogram Division, a meteorologist said today (21 May). The front of the cyclone may begin to enter coastal areas after 6:00am, ... Read more

5 consecutive days holiday for Eid-ul-Adha

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Government employees are scheduled to get five consecutive days off on Eid-ul-Azha. This includes two days of weekly holidays (Friday and Saturday) followed by another three days for Eid, according to government holiday list. Eid-ul-Azha is likely to be celebrated on June 17 this year.

Heavy rains, storms forecast for entire week

Schools open today after heatwave closures News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) forecasts heavy rainfall with thunderstorms across the country this week, starting on Tuesday and lasting through Saturday. As per the analysis of mathematical model of rainfall index, Bangladesh is likely to witness heavy to very heavy rainfall with thunderstorms starting ... Read more

Waiting for the rain

Tawsia Tajmim As the sun blazes relentlessly, desperate craving rises for rain, for nothing soothes Mother Nature quite like its cool embrace. After a brutal month-long heatwave, residents of Chattogram, Sylhet, and Dhaka finally caught a break with some rain on 2 May. However, the downpour was not strong enough to completely wash away the ... Read more

Hajj registration extended till Jan 18

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The government, in a notice issued yesterday, extended the Hajj registration deadline for 2024 until January 18. It said aspiring Hajis would have to primarily deposit Tk 2.05 lakh, while the rest should be paid by February 29 for final registration. One has to pay Tk 5,78,840 under the general package, ... Read more

Dense fog disrupts communications across Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Cold and dense fog continued to disrupt life with road, air and waterways communication remaining suspended in the early hours of Tuesday as Bangladesh braces for this winter’s first cold wave likely to set in today. Authorities also confirmed until Tuesday the death of 14 people in cold-related diseases and road ... Read more

27,000 GPA 5 achievers not to get seat in public universities

Shahin Akhter Over 27,000 GPA 5 achievers in this year’s HSC and equivalent examinations cannot be admitted to the public universities due to fewer seats. A total of 92,595 examinees secured GPA 5 out of total 10,67,852 passed in the Higher Secondary Certificate examinations this year. But there are around 65,400 seats at the public ... Read more

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolts Dhaka, other parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck Bangladesh this morning, the United States Geological Survey said, with no immediate reports of damage. The earthquake jolted different parts of the country including Dhaka around in Ramganj of Cumilla at 9:35am, reports The Daily Star quoting Meteorologist Rubayet Kabir of Bangladesh Meteorological Department. The quake ... Read more

250cc Bajaj Pulsar N250 launched in Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Uttara Motors, the manufacturer and distributor of Bajaj motorcycles in Bangladesh, has recently launched The Pulsar N250 motorcycle. Pulsar N250 comes with a price tag of Tk339,999 and is available in three different colours. The motorcycle with a 250 cc oil-cooled engine has got dual channel antilock braking system (ABS). Indian ... Read more

HSC, equivalent exam results tomorrow

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The results of this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations will be published tomorrow. The copy of the results will be handed over to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina tomorrow morning. Later in the day, the results will be officially announced by Education Minister Dipu Moni at a press ... Read more

Gold hits record with a bhori of Tk 106,376

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The jewelry makers of the country has increased 22-carat gold price by Tk 1,750 today. Tomorrow, the price of 22-carat gold will reach a historic high of Tk 106,376 per bhori. The new price is 1.67 percent higher than the previous all-time high of Tk 104,626 per bhori (11.664 grammes) recorded ... Read more

Gold’s price reaches a new peak

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Gold price in the country has surged to a record Tk1.04 lakh per bhori due to a rise in the rates of pure gold in the local market. The price of the best quality gold or one bar of 22-carat (11.664 grams) gold has been increased by Tk 1,750 to Tk104,626 ... Read more

Bangladesh permits 375cc domestically produced motorcycles

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh government has allowed locally made motorcycles of up to 375cc along with the existing imported motorcycles of up to 165cc to facilitate the expansion of the local industrial sector. The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, under the road transport and bridges ministry, on Wednesday issued a circular in this regard. It ... Read more

Four-day tourism festival begins in Dhaka

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A four-day long festival to boost local tourism will be launched on September 27 in Dhaka to celebrate World Tourism Day 2023. The Bangladesh Tourism Board under the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism will organise the festival titled ‘Bangladesh Festival’ at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The festival will be ... Read more

Bangladesh Railway launches luggage vans with intercity trains

News Desk : dhakamirror.com To significantly increase the supply of perishable items, agricultural and other goods, Bangladesh Railway (BR) combined luggage vans with intercity trains on Sunday. The first van was combined with Sylhet bound intercity train “Joyantika Express”. Jayantika Express transported 4,600 kg of goods from Dhaka to Sylhet as Bangladesh Railway’s first intercity ... Read more

Bangabandhu Tunnel: Government sets toll ranging from Tk200 to Tk1,000

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The government has set toll rates for using the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Tunnel built under the Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, ranging from 200 Tk for cars to 1,000 Tk for 4-axle trailers, which is slated for inauguration in September. The Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges issued a circular in ... Read more