Bangladesh: Bank confirms ousting of Nobel Prize winner Yunus from two companies

AKM Saiful Majid, chairman of the Grameen Bank, speaks during a news conference to confirm that founder and Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus has been ousted from two other businesses he founded (AFP/MUNIR UZ ZAMAN)

A Bangladeshi bank confirmed on Saturday that it had ousted Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus from two companies he had created, a few weeks after a prison sentence (suspended by an appeal).

Muhammad Yunus, 83, made a name for himself lifting millions of people out of poverty through his pioneering microcredit bank, Grameen Bank. But he fell out with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who accused him of “sucking the blood” of the poor.

The government notably forced him to resign from Grameen Bank in 2011, nevertheless leaving him to manage dozens of anti-poverty companies that he also founded.

It was the current president of Grameen Bank who confirmed on Saturday that his board of directors had appointed new managers to head at least two companies controlled by Yunus.

Grameen Bank Chief Legal Advisor Masud Akhter announced in a statement that Saiful Majid is now Chairman of Grameen Telecom and Grameen Kalyan.

Mr. Majid, for his part, explained to the press that these “are subsidiaries of Grameen Bank”, Muhammad Yunus and his relatives being “not owners of the companies”.

Grameen Telecom, originally established to provide cheap mobile phone services in rural areas, is one of Bangladesh’s richest companies, owning 34% of the country’s largest mobile phone network.

Muhammad Yunus denounced last Thursday during a press conference the fact that a group of “outsiders” had burst into a building housing several of his companies and had taken control of the offices, refusing access to staff.

He considered that there was no legal basis for this eviction, against which he was unable to file a complaint.

The popularity of Muhammad Yunus has for years made him a potential rival of Ms. Hasina, re-elected for a fifth term last month in a vote boycotted by opposition parties.

Her opponents accuse Bangladesh’s courts of rubber-stamping the decisions of Hasina’s government.

Muhammad Yunus and three Grameen Telecom managers were sentenced to six months in prison in early January for violating labor law by failing to create a provident fund, a case that drew criticism from human rights defenders. man.

The four defendants, who appealed and remain free on bail, reject these accusations.

Mr. Yunus faces more than a hundred other charges relating to alleged labor law violations and allegations of corruption.

© 2024 AFP

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