Muhammad Yunus ousted from Grameen Bank

Written on March 2, 2011 by Ángeles Figueroa-Alcorta in Asia, International Development

Bangladesh: Muhammad Yunus disputes Grameen sacking


Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has said that he will fight attempts to remove him from the Grameen microfinance bank which he founded.

The central bank sacked him saying he was past retirement age and had been improperly installed in his post. Grameen Bank disputes the accusations. It says it is taking legal advice and that Prof Yunus remains in office. Prof Yunus pioneered micro-lending to the poor but has been under pressure from the government to step down.

The BBC’s Anbarasan Ethirajan in Dhaka says that the effort to remove Prof Yunus is the culmination of a long-running feud with the government, which has been taking a series of measures in recent months to remove him.

‘Continuing in office’

Prof Yunus fell out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2007 when he was trying to set up a new party. The government owns a 25% stake in Grameen, which pioneered the microfinance concept of lending small amounts of money to the poor which has been replicated worldwide.

Our correspondent says that the dispute over Prof Yunus’ sacking is now likely to end up being resolved by the courts. Bangladesh Bank, the country’s central bank, said that Prof Yunus had violated the country’s retirement laws by staying on as Grameen’s head long past the mandatory retirement age of 60. Prof Yunus is 70.

“Bangladesh Bank has relieved Yunus of his duties as managing director of the Grameen Bank,” Muzammel Huq, the government-appointed chairman of Grameen Bank, said. Mr Huq also said that Prof Yunus did not receive the required approval from Bangladesh Bank when he was appointed managing director in 1999.

“Grameen Bank by-laws clearly state that the managing director should be appointed by the board with the prior approval of the Bangladesh Bank,” he said. Mr Huq said a letter from the central bank ordering the removal of Prof Yunus had been sent to Grameen Bank. “The bank’s senior-most managing director automatically becomes the [interim] managing director. I will convene a board meeting very soon and it will soon appoint a committee to find a [permanent] managing director.”

But a Grameen Bank statement later on Wednesday said that the matter was now “a legal issue” and that the bank had complied with “all applicable laws in respect of appointment of the managing director”. “According to the bank’s legal advisers, the founder of Grameen Bank, Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, is accordingly continuing in his office,” the statement said. Read more…

As published in www.bbc.co.uk on March 2, 2011


Ryan Simone March 3, 2011 - 6:39 am

Yunus should make every effort to fight the Bangladeshi government’s efforts to make him step down for the Grameen Bank. Yunus has fought for what he thinks is right his entire life, which has led to him making some enemies along the way. Specifically, his efforts to make a third political party angered the Prime Minister. People who fight to make a difference often have people try to take them down along the way. The Grameen Bank is Yunus’ creation and does not function as a typical bank. There is no real reason why Yunus would not be able to continue in his current position. Age is so subjective, it is clear that the efforts to oust him are motivated beyond the means of trying to help the Grameen Bank. Yunus has made a difference in this world for thousands, and he should be allowed to continue on in his current position.

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