Yunus Centre tries to hide the truth: Hasan
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today denounced the Yunus Centre's statement that denied Dr Muhammad Yunus's alleged role to scrap World Bank's financing in Padma Bridge construction as evil attempts to hide the truth.
"As Padma Bridge was built, many of those who opposed it changed their tone. BNP also tried to change its tone through Mirza Fakhrul Saheb," he told reporters at his ministry in the Secretariat here referring to the Yunus Center's statement issued to the media.
He said Dr Yunus is the mastermind of the perpetrators against Padma Bridge, particularly scrapping WB's credit for the mega project.
". . . keeping due respect to Dr Muhammad Yunus Saheb, I want to present few data over the matter. It is clear like broad daylight that Dr Yunus Saheb played a role of key perpetrator in scrapping World Bank's credit for Padma Bridge as he has special intimacy with Hilary Clinton. Everyone at home and abroad knows it," he said.
The minister said the then World Bank president Robert Bruce Zoellick stated that there was no logical reason for scrapping the credit.
Firstly, Bangladesh is one of the partner countries of WB and it has a share in WB and secondly, Bangladesh has never been a loan defaulter as in terms of paying back debt, the country's position is very good in the world, Hasan said citing comments of Zoellick.
As there was no logical ground, continuous pressure was put on the then WB President, he said, adding that Zoellick didn't do so.
Zoellick had been forced to sign the decision to scrap the financing at the eleventh hour on his last working day at the WB, Hasan mentioned.
Referring to the reason behind the move, the minister said Dr Yunus illegally held the post of Grameen Bank Managing Director (MD) for additional 10 years and wanted to hold it further.
In Bangladesh, the age limit for serving as MD of a bank is 60 years and it is applicable for private banks too, he mentioned.
Dr Yunus held the Grameen Bank (GB) MD post for at least an extra 10 years as he was in his 70s at the time, Hasan said.
Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary, said Grameen Bank is a statutory body like Palli Sanchay Bank and Karmasangsthan Bank where the government has shares.
At that time, the government owned 51 percent shares of GB and others owned 49 percent shares.
The rule is the same for Grameen Bank like other statutory banks, but Dr Yunus held the post violating the rules, he said.
The government did not ask him to step down from the bank by leaving the MD post, rather it asked him to be adviser, but at that time he lodged a case against the government, he said.
Yunus had lost in the battle of the case in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court which meant the Apex Court ensured through its decisive verdict that Yunus illegally held the post, he said.
Noting that the government always tried to save Grameen Bank, Hasan said after the 1998 devastating flood, loan recipients of the bank could not pay back their debts and at that period, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had invested Taka 400 crore in different times in the Grameen Bank.
Hasan said after assuming office for the first time, Sheikh Hasina gave licence to Grameen Phone and licence was also given to Dr Yunus in the name of Grameen Bank.
At that time, it was stated that money from the Grameen Phone would be credited to Grameen Bank, he said. "Has the money been credited to GB?" he posed a question.
In Wednesday's statement, Dr Yunus denied the donation he gave to the Clinton Foundation.
But when local and international newspapers published reports on it, he did not deny it, Hasan Mahmud said.
Today, after many years, why is he denying the matter which meant there is something wrong in it, he said.
Great poet Bishwakabi Rabindranath Tagore had introduced a microcredit system with the money he obtained from the Nobel Prize, he said.
Though Dr Yunus obtained a Nobel Prize showing microcredit, he kept his Nobel Prize in his personal bank account, he said.
Neither the money was credited to Grameen Bank nor was it spent for any philanthropic activities, the minister added.