Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus is no savior of poor

For many decades, Muhammad Yunus succeeded in remaining in the attention of international media as well as global celebrities and leaders, by continuing self-promotion as ‘savior of poor’, ‘father of microcredit’ etc. Interestingly, quite a large number of leaders in the West, including former US First Lady Hillary Clinton remain a great admirer of Muhammad Yunus, not just because the Clinton family considers him as an angelic individual, but because Yunus has been one of the biggest donors of Clinton Foundation. While Yunus succeeded in duping almost the entire world into the intrigue web of lies and falsehood, in Bangladesh, millions of poor people are visibly bleeding being trapped into debt trap of Grameen Bank as well multiple microfinance ventures of this monstrous individual, who has been robbing-off poor with exorbitant amount of interest on the amount Yunus lends.

But none of the exposures of him being a blood-sucking lender and cause of sufferings, starvation and even death of a massive number of poor in Bangladesh – the name Muhammad Yunus stands out prominently, hailed as the pioneer of microcredit and the founder of Grameen Bank. He has been given accolades after accolades and even projected as a saintly individual.

However, lately – beneath the surface, a series of controversies have marred the reputation of Yunus, his brainchild Grameen Bank, and its affiliated organization, Grameen Telecom and Grameen Kalyan.

One of the primary accusations facing Yunus and his affiliated entities revolves around financial irregularities, including tax evasion, embezzlement, and the misappropriation of funds from various affiliate organizations. The specific case involving Grameen Telecom, where a legal obligation to share 5 percent of profits with employees allegedly went unfulfilled, resulted in a case filed under Sections 4, 7, 8, 117, and 234 of the Labor Act in Bangladesh. This highlights the serious legal implications and underscores the need for a comprehensive investigation.

The involvement of 106 Nobel Laureates, urging Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to halt legal proceedings against Yunus, adds a layer of complexity to the situation. While the laureates may argue that Yunus is being persecuted, critics maintain that this international support ignores the constitutional limits and may inadvertently undermine the rule of law.

Bangladesh government committee’s findings in 2011, revealing rule breaches and fund misuse, further stress the importance of an unbiased examination of the allegations.

Another significant point of contention arises from the alleged manipulation of Grameen Bank’s ownership structure. Originally, members owned 60 percent of the shares, with the government holding the remaining 40 percent. However, investigations indicate that a 1986 amendment shifted the balance, giving 75 percent of the shares to the members and only 25 percent to the government. This apparent violation of Section 7 of the Grameen Ordinance raises questions about the transparency and legality of such changes.

Legal experts in Bangladesh argue that the increase in paid-up capital by Grameen Bank lacks proper authorization. According to them, the power to increase paid-up capital rests solely with the government, and any unilateral action by the bank may constitute a breach of the law. The absence of documented evidence showcasing government authorization for the increase raises concerns about the adherence to legal procedures within Grameen Bank.

The process surrounding the appointment of Muhammad Yunus as the Managing Director of Grameen Bank has also come under intense scrutiny. While the initial appointment by the government followed due processes, subsequent amendments shifted the responsibility to the Board of Directors. However, discrepancies in Yunus’s appointment, including exceeding the age limit set by government employment rules, cast doubt on the legitimacy of his tenure. The violation of service rules, particularly the alleged absence of reapproval from Bangladesh Bank, adds another layer to the controversy.

Yunus’s classification as a public servant, as defined by the Bangladesh Penal Code, adds a legal dimension to the controversies. The 2011 review committee identified several breaches of service terms, including frequent absence, unauthorized foreign travel, and the acceptance of funds without proper permissions. The alleged concealment of Yunus’s position while establishing affiliated ventures abroad further complicates the narrative.

True story of Sufia Begum – lies of Yunus exposed!

Yunus projected Jobra village and Sufia as example of their excellent success stories to the international audience. Through such a campaign, Yunus has attained tremendous attention from the international community. He has gained fame in the world as a ‘pioneer’ of micro credit, for which he got the Nobel Peace prize in 2006. The name of Sufia, the first borrower of loan from Yunus’s Grameen Bank, has already crossed international boundaries of many countries, as Grameen Bank proudly pronounced her name as one of the brilliant success stories of their so-called micro-credit loans. It is beyond knowledge of many that, almost one decade back, Sufia died due to extreme poverty and lack of any minimum medical treatment.

Sufia Begum was the first borrower of microcredit loan from Muhammad Yunus among the villagers of Jobra in Bangladesh. Sufia died on January 16, 1997 leaving two daughters – Nurunnahar and Fazilatunnhar. Sufia died in utter poverty.

Sufia Begum’s husband had died long before her death during the childhood of their daughters. He was a job-holder in a tiny local business farm. After his death Sufia became the only earning member of her family. She used to deal in vegetables. Sufia somehow managed to arrange the marriage of her daughters after her husband had died. Even after marriage both the daughters were living besides Sufia’s homestead. They became separated from her mother’s family though they had a reciprocal relationship regarding earning and sharing livelihood.

Sufia’s daughters have been living in the east corner of the village adjacent to a mosque. There are three separate houses, two of those are of two sons’ of Fazilatunnahar’s and the other is of younger daughter Nurunnahar’s son.

Sufia Begum took a loan from Grameen Bank more than 25 years ago. First, she took taka 60. At that time, she had to deposit one taka per day. Having paid the loan back Sufia took taka 500 and paid back. Even after that she took another taka 500 and paid in irregular installments. But she never got back her deposit from Grameen Bank. At that time, dealing in vegetable and food grains was not enough to bear her livelihood. So, she was some sort dependent upon the incomes of her daughters’ family. At that period due to the economic hardship and the pressure of loan from Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank, Sufia’s elder daughter lost her mental balance.

Now both the daughters have been living in the same place besides Sufia’s homestead with their children and grandchildren. Both of them and their children are so poor that they could not take any loan from either Grameen Bank or any other NGOs.

Sufia’s elder daughter Fazilatunnahar has two sons. Fazilatunnahar’s husband left her and got married again. Both of her sons are rickshaw-pullers and are married. Now they have been living with their wives, children and mother in two tiny straw-roofed huts.

A few months before the younger one was unemployed; a wealthy neighbor gave him a rickshaw on the condition to gradually pay the price back. Fazilatunnahar is yet to get back her mental balance. She gets furious when she confronts outsiders from the village and starts deploring about the harms of the loan. Even she scolds the journalists, television crews who frequently visit her house.

The younger daughter of Sufia Begum – Nurunnahar has two sons and one daughter. Her husband also left her for a long time. All of her children but one is married though the daughter’s husband has left her with a child. All of them have been living as one family. Nurunnahar’s elder son is also a rickshaw-puller and the only earning member of the family. All of them have been living in a small hut. Though it needs to be repaired, their family cannot afford it due to poverty. During the rainy season water falls down from the roof and makes it difficult for them to dwell in the hut.

Nurunnahar told Danish investigative journalist Tom Heinemann that after receiving the Nobel Prize when Yunus visited Jobra village, Grameen Bank had forced the locals to collect money for buying flower bouquets for Yunus. At that time, Muhammad Yunus, in presence of the villagers, had promised to provide financial assistance to Sufia Begum’s family so that they could build a new house. But this was just a false promise. Instead of helping Sufia Begum’s family in repairing their broken hut, a propaganda team of the shrewd Muhammad Yunus sent journalists from France, China, Germany and few more countries to Jobra village and film an adjacent building and claim it to be owned by Sufia Begum. In reality – the building belongs to an expatriate named Jabel Hussain who lives in Dubai.

The controversies surrounding Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank, and Grameen Telecom present a tangled web of financial, legal, and ethical issues. While media and international support may cast Yunus as a victim, the evidence suggests a more nuanced reality. The intertwining of financial irregularities, ownership structure manipulation, and appointment controversies demands a thorough and impartial investigation. As these allegations continue to capture global attention, the need for accountability and adherence to legal processes remains paramount to ensure justice prevails over influential affiliations and international support.

According to media reports, a court in Bangladesh has sentenced the Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus to six months in jail for violating the country’s labor laws. Following the verdict, Yunus told reporters, “As my lawyers have convincingly argued in court, this verdict against me is contrary to all legal precedent and logic. I call for the Bangladeshi people to speak in one voice against injustice and in favor of democracy and human rights for each and every one of our citizens”.

Here again, Yunus has resorted to his old habit of falsehood and most possibly onwards he will take advantage of coverage in the international media by misleading them through his PR team. In this case, if journalists in the world are to follow the ethics of this noble profession, they need to first investigate the dark actions of Yunus. And in that case, instead of defending this man, they will accuse him for deceiving millions of poor women in Bangladesh for decades.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.