Published on May 8, 2012
http://www.shahriar.info (শাহরিয়ারের স্বপ্নবিলাস)
Dhaka, May 8th, 2012 -- Finance Minister A M A Muhith has criticised US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her remarks over Grameen Bank, saying the government has not changed its stance about the microfinance organisation.
"Hillary's statement on the Grameen Bank was undue," Muhith told a media briefing after a meeting at his ministry on Tuesday.
"Grameen Bank is an organisation established by the government. It is because of the government that Mr Yunus could come this far."
During her visit to Bangladesh on Sunday, Clinton told a programme in Dhaka, "We do not want to see any action taken that would in any way undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank or its unique organisational structure where the poor women themselves are the owners."
"I don't want anything that would in any way undermine what has been a tremendous model," she added.
Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus shared Nobel Peace prize in 2006.
Following a 'confrontation' with the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and allegation of transferring funds without donor's permission, Yunus had been removed from the bank as its managing director last year. The government said he was too old as per law to continue in office.
Yunus is known to be a family friend of Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
The finance minister on Tuesday claimed that the bank did not face any problem after Yunus' removal last year. "Whatever Hillary says, we are maintaining our previous position," Muhith added.
"Mr Yunus quarrelled, we didn't," he added.
Chief executive since Grameen was founded originally with government support and ownership, Yunus was questioned by the central bank for continuing in his job far beyond the retirement age for any executive in any such institution in Bangladesh. Yunus was nearly 71 when the Bangladesh Bank gave the notice in March 2011.
Yunus went to the court and lost a series of legal battles, finally in the Supreme Court, eventually losing his hold on the institution he is credited with building.
In reply to another query, Muhith said, "The contention of Mr Yunus that the government wants to grab the Grameen Bank is totally rubbish."
"I am sorry that I have termed it rubbish. But that's true," he added.
Despite pressure from the United States and donor agencies, the government apparently has no intention to return Yunus to the bank. It rejected a proposal earlier this year, too, to form a committee headed by Yunus to find a Managing Director.
Muhith claimed that the government never meddled in the affairs of the Grameen Bank.
"Neither America nor the World Bank has given a single paisa to help this organisation," he said.
He also said a commission would be formed soon to oversee the activities of the organisations associated with the Grameen Bank.
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