Threats came from ex-US senior officials over Yunus: Hasina

UNB . Munich | Update:

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said the then US secretary of state, assistance secretary and US ambassador in Dhaka had threatened several times to withdraw the Padma Bridge fund if Muhammad Yunus is removed as the Grameen Bank managing director.

Speaking at a reception accorded to her by German chapter of Bangladesh Awami League (AL) at Marriott Hotel in Munich of Germany, Hasina also said her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy had to face pressure from the US state department to keep Muhammad Yunus as the Grameen Bank MD.

"The US ambassador had always threatened me coming to my office that the fund for the Padma Bridge would be stopped if Muhammad Yunus was removed from the managing director post of Grameen Bank," claimed Hasina.

The prime minister said the then assistant secretary also repeated the same thing. "Hillary Clinton phoned me and exerted the same pressure. Even, the US state department summoned my son Joy thrice and told him that we would face trouble."

She said the US state department officials had told Joy that Hillary Clinton would not take the matter so easily. "Convince your mother," she recalled what Joy had said quoting them.

Hasina asked why should such a person who received coveted Nobel Prize be so much greedy for a simple post of managing director of a bank when her government offered him the post of adviser Emeritus to the same bank?"

The prime minister said as per the country's existing law, one can be the MD of any bank till 60 years. "But, he didn't leave that post although he was more than 70 years and this was very much interesting. For that he continued his lobbying," she said.

The prime minister said the government did not remove Muhammad Yunus from his post. "We tried to make him adviser, but without accepting it, he went to the court taking advice from Kamal Hossain and the court gave its verdict."

Hasina said the editor of a newspaper was involved in this matter as well and they both tried to float a political party during the army-backed 1/11 regime. "But, the country's people didn't respond to their initiative."

Citing a Canadian court's recent verdict, she said the truth shall prevail all the time. "Now it has been proved there had been no corruption in the Padma Bridge construction," she said.

The prime minister reiterated that her government had taken the issue as a challenge and asked the World Bank to prove it with documents which it failed to do. "Our government has successfully faced the conspiracy with honesty."

She also firmly mentioned that those who lost their honour and dignity due to the Padma Bridge bribe conspiracy must file cases against the World Bank for its role.

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