GB directors should quit | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 17, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 17, 2013

GB directors should quit

Recommends govt-formed commission on Grameen Bank

A government-sponsored commission on Grameen Bank has concluded that the incumbent directors of the bank's board should no longer hold office, as the election rules of the organisation are not in line with the ordinance that governs the microlender.
"The Grameen Bank Election Rules 1987 is ultra vires of the fundamental mandate of the Ordinance and should be discarded forthwith as having been made without lawful authority.
"The persons currently elected to the board should no longer hold office with immediate effect," the commission said in an interim report.
The four-member body that has been criticised for its ineffectiveness submitted the report to the finance ministry last week.
The commission also reiterated that Grameen Bank is a government bank, not a private one, as claimed by its founder and Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus.
"There can be no further debate on the legal status of Grameen Bank," said the commission.
It said the directors should also have a certain educational qualification so that they can read and understand the board's proceedings.
The interim report suggests that the director should have a certificate from a government-recognised school or madrasa showing that the person has achieved standards not below Class-7.
The GB board is a 12-member body. Nine board members are directly elected by the shareholders and borrowers of the bank, while the rest, including the chairman, are nominated by the government.
The commission said the government should nominate officers as board members, who are not above the rank of joint secretary.
The finance ministry should scrutinise the minutes of the board meeting and ensure that the nominees have a certain academic qualification, knowledge and expertise appropriate for the bank's work.
The report said the government may nominate board directors from civil society but they should have appropriate academic qualification or work experience in rural development.
Grameen Bank Chairman Mozammel Haque declined to comment on the report. The members of the commission could not be reached for opinion.
On May 15 last year, the government formed the four-member body to review the activities of Grameen Bank and the 54 legally independent organisations bearing Grameen names, and make recommendations on how to run the organisations.
The interim report of the commission led by former secretary Mamun Ur Rashid came amid allegations that the government-sponsored body is not functioning properly. The deadline for submitting the report was extended twice due to long absence of one of its members and the resignation of another.
Initially, the commission could not function fully, as Moslehuddin Ahmed, a chartered accountant, did not attend office until September last year due to illness, according to sources close to the commission.
But by then, the first deadline for submitting the report had elapsed.
Furthermore, MA Kamal, the then director general of National Academy for Planning and Development, stepped down as the commission's member secretary in September.
The inclusion of barrister Ajmalul Hossain, a reputed lawyer, in the commission raised some questions, as he had represented Bangladesh Bank in its case against Prof Yunus after the microcredit pioneer was controversially removed from the bank in 2011.

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