Joy's 'letter' tells it all | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 09, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 09, 2011

Joy's 'letter' tells it all

Friends of Yunus critical of his statement

Friends of Grameen, an international effort to save Prof Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, yesterday said an open letter of Sajeeb A Wazed, son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has exposed fully the dynamics behind attacks on the country's most prestigious organisation and its founder.
The group, chaired by Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it has been particularly alarmed by the statements made by Sajeeb.
"Friends of Grameen are shocked by this letter, its existence, signatory, allegations and the themes that are developed, that are now exposing fully the dynamics behind the attacks on Grameen Bank and Prof Yunus, the very strong personal content of the harassment of Yunus and Grameen Bank, the allegations that Grameen Bank has been designed as and remains an organ of state, the clear underlying view that Grameen Bank is a useless organisation that has brought no relief to poverty in Bangladesh, the full and explicit opposition to microcredit as an efficient way to alleviate poverty."
The group said: "He wrote and signed an open letter on Saturday in his capacity of 'Advisor to Sheikh Hasina, Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh', claiming that he was representing the official view of the Government of Bangladesh on the matter, in extremely troubling and defamatory terms."
"Here are the facts from the Bangladesh Government's side on the Yunus and Grameen Bank issue", starts the email. It continues, "Last year Norwegian Television uncovered documents revealing massive financial improprieties at Grameen Bank under Mohammed Yunus.... Commenting on the fact that the government of Norway has totally cleared this issue, he says "no doubt Yunus lobbied the Norwegian Government."
The letter continues with very acrimonious, pseudo-legal terms, and contains such words as illegal activities, criminal offence, fraud, improprieties, theft, embezzlement, and molestation, according to a statement of Friends of Grameen.
"Even more alarming, Mr Sajeeb Wazed goes on by saying: 'Contrary to the popular perception, Yunus did not found Grameen Bank. The Government of Bangladesh did', and continues with the following conclusion: 'Despite the hype, there is no evidence that microcredit has in fact reduced the rolls of the poor in Bangladesh. Grameen Bank has been in the microcredit business for 30 years, yet Bangladesh remains one of the poorest countries in the world.'"
The letter came as the High Court yesterday ruled that Grameen Bank did not obtain formal approval from the government on Yunus' reappointment as the managing director in 1999.
The Group said the government is the member of the board of Grameen Bank by running three seats out of 12, but it has never questioned the position of Prof Yunus as the managing director.
On the contrary, the board voted unanimously for Yunus to continue as managing director. The court decision is politically oriented and without legal grounds, it said.
Friends of Grameen hoped the position expressed by Sajeeb is not the official position of the government of Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Óscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and 1987 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, joined as Friends of Grameen.

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