Latest Attacks on Prof. Yunus: You're Too Old


March 7, 2011
Jen Maurer, Sr. Policy Associate

After months of overtly political attacks to discredit Yunus, force his removal, and take-over Grameen Bank, now the government is trying to force Yunus to retire.

In brief: The most recent attacks on Prof. Yunus and Grameen Bank are focused on forcing Yunus to retire based on his age. Law states that government employees must retire at age 60; Yunus is 70. The government of Bangladesh argues that it owns a small part of Grameen Bank, and thus Grameen Bank is under the regulation of the government, which thus has authority to remove him based on the age limitations. However, Grameen is not a government enterprise, and 75 percent of shares belong to members.  Law states that the Grameen Bank board has the power to appoint the managing director, while the government has some limited approval power — which it gave in 1990. Moreover, at no point in the last 12 years has the government challenged Yunus’ position, even when he was reappointed in 2000. Yunus has long called for and supported a transition plan — not under these forced circumstances, but through rule of law and a process conducted by the Grameen Bank board. Among other officials, the finance minister has defended the government’s attempts to oust Yunus; the finance minister is 77 — this hypocrisy would be amusing if it wasn’t so tragic.

Last Thursday, the High Court considered two petitions against the government’s firing of Yunus: one filed by Yunus, and one filed by the 9 of the 12 directors of the Grameen Bank’s board — the 9 women borrowers on the board. The other 3 directors are government appointees, one of whom is the government-appointed chairman of the bank. A decision was expected on Sunday, but has been delayed twice. When/if the ruling does come on Tuesday, it is likely support the government, not Yunus.

These attacks have brought condemnation within Bangladesh, including from the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh and Yunus Challenges Removal

Muhith’s claims didn’t reflect truth, says Grameen Bank

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