7 organisations formed with Grameen Bank’s funds, not Yunus’ money: chairman

The microlender has taken over seven organisations, of which Muhammad Yunus was chairman

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 17 Feb 2024, 07:18 PM
Updated : 17 Feb 2024, 07:18 PM

Grameen Bank Chairman AKM Saiful Majid has defended the takeover of seven organisations, of which Muhammad Yunus was chairman, saying they were founded with the microlender’s funds, not the Nobel laureate’s money.

Saiful came up with the remark at a press conference at the Grameen Bank headquarters in Dhaka on Saturday after Yunus alleged forceful takeover of the organisations last week.

Saiful said the appointment of chairman and directors in the organisations was done in keeping with the law.

He also accused Yunus of channelling Grameen Bank’s funds and said he has evidence to back these allegations.

“The seven organisations belong to the Grameen Bank because they were founded with the bank’s funds. Letters were sent to these organisations following the legal procedure. The Grameen Bank’s legal rights over these organisations will be restored. These do not belong to Professor Yunus,” Saiful said.

The seven organisations are Grameen Kalyan, Grameen Telecom, Grameen Fund, Grameen Matsya Foundation, Grameen Udyog, Grameen Samogri and Grameen Shokti.

Yunus raised concerns over the issue at a media briefing at the Grameen Telecom Bhaban, which houses the offices of these organisations, on Thursday.

The Nobel laureate said that on Feb 12, a group of people from Grameen Bank bypassed security measures and forced their way into the Grameen Telecom Bhaban, locking up eight of the 16 offices housed in the building.

Yunus added that Grameen Bank does not have legal authority to take over the building, and the companies run independently.

Recently, Grameen Bank appointed new directors for Grameen Telecom and Grameen Kalyan, replacing Yunus with Saiful in the position of chairman.

Yunus described these actions as attempts to harass him publicly and undermine his social enterprises.

But Saiful dismissed the allegations made by Yunus and said that the directors were appointed following rules from certified copies of the organisation’s article of memorandum that were collected from the Registrar of Joint Stock.

He said the Grameen Bank’s funds were supposed to be used for the poor, landless and helpless people, and now he wants to know where the funds went to.

“It was possible to do many things from within the Grameen Bank. There was no need to create so many organisations,” Saiful said.

The Grameen Bank chairman said foreign donations for the Grameen Bank were transferred to Grameen Kalyan as endowment fund. “In total, Grameen Kalyan was given Tk 4.47 billion. All of these are Grameen Bank’s funds.”

He demanded an audit of the Grameen Bank’s accounts from 1983, the year it was established, to 2023. No ledger was found before 1990, he said.

Saiful alleged Yunus laundered billions of taka from the Grameen Bank in the name of creating these organisations.

Masud Akter, legal advisor of the Grameen Bank, said the poor and landless members of the bank, who own it, are also the owners of the organisations created by the bank’s funds.  

Yunus’ comments on the claims and allegations made at the Grameen Bank press conference were not available immediately.