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Nobel laureate Yunus ousted from Grameen Bank

News18test sharma |

Updated: March 2, 2011, 7:02 PM IST
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Nobel laureate Yunus ousted from Grameen Bank
Bangladesh central bank has removed Muhammad Yunus as MD of Grameen Bank.

Dhaka: Nobel laureate Mohammed Younus, a celebrated pioneer of micro-finance was on Wednesday forced out from the Grameen Bank, he founded nearly three decades ago, amid a growing spat with the Bangladesh government, officials said.

Yunus was relieved of his duties as Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, a central bank official said.

"We have sent a letter to him (Yunus) containing the Bangladesh Bank decision." he said.

The exit of the Nobel laureate came after accusations that he had violated country's retirement law.

But the Grameen Bank contested the claim and said it was seeking legal advice and Yunus would continue to hold the post.

The micro-financiers firing caps a running battle with the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in recent months, during which he has faced a defamation suit by a local politician alleging that he misappropriated Norwegian development funds and accusations that he was overage.

A Central Bank official said, he had been stripped off his position as his appointment violated the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 that stipulates a Managing Director must be appointed with prior approval of the central bank.

According to the ordinance, Yunus was serving as a whole-time officer and the chief executive of the Bank.

Hasina and Yunus recently had a verbal dual when the micro-financier suggested that he should form his own political party.

Following this tiff, Hasina accused the Nobel laureate of treating the Grameen Bank as his personal property and claimed that the group "was sucking blood from the poor".

The development came two days after the 70-year old Nobel Laureate apparently was exposed to a fresh trouble on retirement age issue as the central bank in a letter to the government reportedly said he was flouting Bangladesh retirement rules by serving as head of his Grameen Bank.

According to media reports Bangladesh Bank in a letter to the finance ministry had said that Yunus had passed the retirement age of 60.

A Grameen Bank statement issued within hours said the specialised micro lending agency was "examining all the legal aspects of this issue."

"This is a legal issue. The Honourable Finance Minister (AMA Muhith) has himself stated yesterday that it is a legal issue. Grameen Bank is taking legal advice," the statement read.

It, however, added that Grameen Bank all through complied with all applicable laws and "It has also complied with the law in respect of appointment of the Managing Director."

"According to the (Grameen) Bank's Legal Advisors, the founder of Grameen Bank, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, is accordingly continuing in his office," the statement read.

The government-appointed titular chairman of the Bank and former employee of the Bank Muzamel Huq earlier acknowledged the central bank decision saying Bangladesh Bank relieved him of his duties as the managing director of Grameen Bank with immediate effect.

According to media reports Bangladesh Bank in a letter to the finance ministry suggested Yunus flouted the retirement rules and should immediately as he had passed retirement age of 60.

Finance minister AMA Muhith at that time told a news agency that the government had received the opinion from the central bank that Yunus had been "illegally" staying as the Grameen Bank s chief executive but "We will deal with it (the matter) gracefully".

Muhith earlier suggested Yunus to retire saying "he should give it to others".

Muhith earlier suggested Yunus to retire saying "he should give it to others to continue because you never continue all the time in any institution".

First Published: March 2, 2011, 7:02 PM IST
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