Dhaka asks Grameen Bank chief to step down, Yunus refuses

February 15th, 2011 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Feb 15 (IANS) The Bangladesh government has asked Muhammad Yunus to “step aside” as the chief of Grameen Bank pending completion of a probe into the micro credit pioneer and its various business arms, but the Nobel Laureate has refused, the finance minister said.Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith Monday said the government had asked Yunus to stay away from Grameen Bank as long as a review was on.

“I suggested Yunus should step aside as Grameen Bank’s managing director, transferring his powers to the deputy managing director,” Muhith told BBC Bangla Service.

“I think it would have been better if Yunus had stayed away for some time,” Muhith said.

According to the minister, Yunus rejected the suggestion, and said Grameen Bank would collapse in his absence.

“I don’t think Yunus can run Grameen Bank throughout his life,” the finance minister was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.

Yunus, who founded Grameen as a small venture, has been at the helm for nearly four decades.

The minister said the relevant law does not allow anybody to stay in the same post for so long.

The government formed a five-member review committee to probe the activities of Grameen after allegations of irregularities in fund transfer surfaced about the micro financier.

Muhith said the government is undecided on its next step and was awaiting recommendations from the review committee that was asked to turn in its report in three month’s time from January.

BBC Bangla Service said it did not receive any immediate comment from Yunus.

Yunus faced controversy last year when a Norwegian documentary accused him of illegally transferring money meant for micro credit to the telecom arm. Yunus denied it and the Norwegian government later cleared him of the charge.

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