In Foreign Policy:
The last hope for Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the path breaking microcredit institution Grameen Bank, rests with a hearing in the appellate division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh that on Tuesday was postponed for two weeks.
Last week, after three days of argument, a lower court, the High Court upheld the legality of an order given the previous week by the country’s central bank that required him to leave his post of managing director because he was over 60 years of age. Yunus is now 70, and the High Court held that Grameen Bank’s own staff regulations required employees to retire at 60, including him.
Yunus’s own lawyers reject that interpretation of the law and hope now to persuade the appellate division that the High Court decision was “entirely perverse,” “a total departure from all ordinary norms of practice,” and “a total denial of justice,” as they write in their appeal filing.
If the High Court decision stands, not only will Yunus be out of a job, it will also mean that at the time he received his Nobel prize in October 2006, he was illegally holding the position of managing director at the bank. Who knows what would be the legal status of decisions and agreements that Yunus made since 1990?
The charge that Yunus unlawfully stayed in his post is just one of the government’s many allegations.
Last week, Sajeeb Wazed, the prime minister’s son, who has also been appointed as her advisor, sent out an email setting out a series of allegations against the bank including “fraud,” “theft,” “tax evasion,” “draconian” methods of loan recovery and “embezzlement.” He admitted that the source of these allegations — which are forcefully denied by Grameen Bank — are government legal papers. More: