Bangladesh Minister accuses Yunus of campaign against country
Dhaka: Bangladeshi Finance Minister on Sunday accused Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus of running a "harmful campaign" against the country, refuting suggestions that the government was orchestrating a takeover of the Grameen Bank founded by the microfinance pioneer.
"Mister Yunus is not saying the right thing. He is saying that the government wants to wrest full control of Grameen Bank," A M A Muhith, Bangladeshi Foreign Minster, said at a seminar at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka.
"I have been saying from the first day that the government does not want to take over Grameen Bank and it has not done that as of now," he said.
"Mr Yunus is carrying out an unnecessary campaign. It's harmful for the country," Muhith was quoted by the BD News as saying.
The Finance Minister also believed that the microlender was at its peak now since the Nobel laureate left it.
"They are running a propaganda campaign that Grameen Bank closed down after Mr Yunus left it. But this is the highest time Grameen Bank (is enjoying) over the past 10 years," he said.
On June 2, the Cabinet endorsed a draft of the 'Grameen Bank Ordinance (Amendment) 2012 changing the rules for appointing Managing Director of the Nobel prize-winning institution founded in 1983 through a martial law ordinance.
It also decided to investigate whether Yunus had enjoyed tax exemption in his stint as Managing Director and how much money he made in salaries and allowances after he turned 60.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan later attempted to set to rest the misgivings over the amendment to the ordinance and said Grameen Bank's Board, not the Chairman, will appoint the Managing Director.
Yunus was forced to leave the Grameen Bank office in 2011 after the central bank said he had violated retirement laws by failing to relinquish control at 60 and after he lost a series of legal battles.
Yunus says the latest decisions are part of a government attempt to take over the bank. On Saturday, 201 citizens criticised the government's move.
At the seminar, the Finance Minister also said he played an important role in the spread of micro-credit.
"Yunus is an icon for micro-credit. But there is also another person involved with micro-credit sitting here. That is me. Yunus may be responsible for 4, 10 or 12 percent of the spread of micro-credit. I took it up to 30 per cent," he said.