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Catholic banker backs Yunus removal

Grameen Bank founder should respect the law, Christian association chief says

Catholic banker backs Yunus removal
Dr. Muhammad Yunus
ucanews.com reporter, Dhaka
Bangladesh

April 6, 2011

A leading Catholic banker has voiced regret over the removal of Muhammad Yunus as head of Grameen Bank, but agreed it is time for the Nobel laureate to go. Yunus lost a final appeal in the Supreme Court yesterday to overturn a central bank decision on March 2 to remove him as managing director of the pioneering micro-credit bank he founded in 1976 to help the poor. The seven-member Supreme Court bench unanimously upheld the central bank order to remove Yunus for not seeking its approval when he was reappointed indefinitely as Grameen’s head in 1999. It also agreed the 70-year-old Yunus had exceeded Grameen Bank’s mandatory retirement age of 60. “Dr. Yunus is noble person and has brought prestige for Bangladesh in winning Nobel Prize. But he is not above the law. He should have gone long ago and respected the law through a mutual understanding with the government,” said Nirmol Rozario, 57, secretary general of the Bangladesh Christian Association. The Catholic banker and former president of The Christian Cooperative Credit Union alleged Yunus was using his overseas connections to force the government to overturn the decision. “I can’t accept such foreign interference in Bangladesh’s internal affairs,” he said. Grameen borrower Suporna Mrong, 36, a tribal Garo Catholic housewife from Tangail district who has benefited from the banks services agreed. “I respect him as an honorable person in society but also think he should respect the country’s laws.” The bank has distributed over 6 billion taka (US$82.3 million) in loans since its founding. However, it has often been blamed for high interest rates.
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