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Bangladesh forms commission to determine Grameen Bank's fate

May 16, 2012 - Dhaka

The Bangladeshi government Wednesday formed a commission to determine a better fate of Grameen Bank after Mohammad Yunus was removed from the post of managing director of the organization last year.

The four-member commission has been asked to report to the Bank and Financial Institution Divisions under the Ministry of Finance in three months, the division announced in a circular Wednesday.

According to the circular, the commission, led by a former finance secretary, will recommend ways to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability by finding out weakness and barriers in the organization.

The commission was formed barely a week after the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said her country does not endorse any action of the Bangladeshi government to "undermine " the achievements of the Grameen Bank. Before wrapping up her 20- hour Dhaka tour last month, Hillary also said she had followed the problems stemming from a change in the management in Grameen Bank.

Bangladeshi Finance Minister AMA Muhith later on brushed aside comments on Grameen Bank by the U.S. secretary of state and claimed that the bank is performing well after the removal of Mohammad Yunus from the post of managing director of the organization last year. "The bank did not face any trouble after removal of Yunus last year."

"Hillary's statement on the Grameen Bank was undue," Muhith told reporters on May 8.

Yunus, known to be a family friend of Hillary and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, was relieved by the Bangladesh Bank in March last year from his position as the managing director of the Grameen Bank, with which he shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Yunus lost his final legal battle in May last year against a High Court judgment which said the micro-credit pioneer's serving as the managing director of the Grameen Bank since 1999 was illegal as he was then beyond 60 years old.

Supporters of 71-year-old Yunus claim that the respected economist, who founded the Grameen Bank in 1983, is the victim of a political vendetta for his 2007 initiative to form his own political party, backed by powerful army when the country was under a state of emergency.

Grameen Bank can be traced back to 1976 when microfinance pioneer of Bangladesh Yunus started his campaign to provide loans to the poor, who had always been overlooked by the traditional banks, from Jobra village in the country's southeastern Chittagong.

In October 1983, the Grame Bank was transformed into an independent bank by government legislation. After development for a few decades, Grame Bank now has 20,000 employees and nearly 10 million borrowers. (Xinhua-ANI)


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