02 March 2011

Muhammad Yunus Ousted as Head of Grameen Bank

Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize, 2006Image via Wikipedia

The Financial Times reported this morning that Nobel Laureate and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus has been removed as head of the bank.   

FT cites a letter from the central bank that claims Mr. Yunus had been acting as managing director without its consent. 

"Whatever the legalities of the issue," reports Amy Kazmin in the FT, "many Bangladeshis believe Mr Yunus is falling victim to a political vendetta by the administration of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, the daughter of Bangladesh’s slain independence leader."

The Associated Press also reported on the ouster, noting that "efforts to remove Yunus from Grameen intensified in recent weeks, with the central bank claiming that the 70-year-old Yunus violated the country's retirement laws by staying on as the bank's head well past the mandatory retirement age of 60."

Muhammad Yunus, founded Grameen Bank 30 years ago and pioneered microcredit loans to the poor, an idea for which he later received the Nobel Peace Prize.

In a statement on the Grameen Bank website, Jannat-E-Quanine, general manager of the bank, said, "This is a legal issue. The Hon'ble Finance Minister has himself stated yesterday that it is a legal issue. Grameen Bank is taking legal advice. It is also examining all the legal aspects of this 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."

For more on the story see Financial Times, Associated Press, and Grameen Bank.

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