Grameen loses Founder

Southasia - - Briefing -

Muham­mad Yunus, No­bel lau­re­ate and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, lost his fi­nal ap­peal in the Bangladesh Supreme Court last month against his sack­ing from the Grameen mi­cro-fi­nance bank.

The coun­try’s cen­tral bank re­moved the 71-year-old Pro­fes­sor from his post in March this year, say­ing his con­tin­u­ing work at Grameen bank vi­o­lated laws stip­u­lat­ing that pub­lic ser­vants must re­tire once they reach the age of 60.

Ear­lier, Bangladesh’s High Court had ruled that the Pro­fes­sor’s dis­missal was legal. Later last month, Yunus lost his last legal op­tion in the Supreme Court to keep his job as man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Grameen Bank. The court up­held the de­ci­sion by the cen­tral bank to re­move him from of­fice.

In De­cem­ber last year, Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina Wa­jid had ac­cused Pro­fes­sor Yunus of treat­ing Grameen Bank as his “per­sonal prop­erty” and said it was “suck­ing blood from the poor.” The Bangladeshi gov­ern­ment set up a re­view com­mit­tee in Jan­uary this year to look into the bank’s af­fairs amid re­ports it could be taken over.

Pro­fes­sor Yunus’s re­moval from the Grameen Bank sparked crit­i­cism from some of Bangladesh’s for­eign donors, in­clud­ing the U.S. His sup­port­ers say he fell out with Bangladesh’s Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina af­ter try­ing to launch his own po­lit­i­cal party in 2007.

The Grameen Bank has pi­o­neered mi­cro-lend­ing to the poor by giv­ing small loans to mil­lions of bor­row­ers. Prof. Yunus, also known as the mi­cro-credit guru, is con­sid­ered to be a pi­o­neer of mi­cro-fi­nanc­ing. His ini­tia­tive won him the No­bel Prize for Peace in 2006.

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