Yunus Centre tries to hide truth: Information Minister

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud exchange views with newspersons at his secretariat office on 30 June 2022

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud on Thursday descried the Yunus Centre’s statement that denied Dr Muhammad Yunus’s role to scrap World Bank’s financing in Padma Bridge construction as evil attempts to hide the truth.

“As Padma Bridge has been built, many of those who opposed it changed their tone. BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) also tries to change its tone though Mirza Fakhrul Saheb yet to say anything,” he told newspersons at his ministry in the secretariat in the capital referring to the Yunus Center’s statement issued to the media.

He said Dr Yunus is the mastermind of the perpetrators against Padma Bridge particularly scarping of WB’s credit for the mega project.

“... keeping due respect to Dr Muhammad Yunus Saheb, I want to present few data over the matter. It is clear like broad daylight that Dr Yunus Saheb played a role of key perpetrator in scrapping World Bank’s credit for Padma Bridge as he has special intimacy with Hilary Clinton. All at home and abroad know it,” he said.

The minister said the then World Bank president Robert Bruce Zoellick stated that there was no logical reason for scrapping the credit.

Bishwakabi Rabindranath Tagore had introduced microcredit system with the money he obtained from Nobel Prize. Though Dr Yunus obtained Nobel Prize showing microcredit, he kept his money of Nobel Prize in his personal bank account
Hasan Mahmud, Information and Broadcasting Minister

Firstly, Bangladesh is one of the partner countries of WB and it has share in WB and secondly, Bangladesh has never been loan defaulter as in terms of paying back debt the country’s position is very good in the world, Hasan said citing comments of Zoellick.

As there was no logical ground, continuous pressure was put on the then World Bank president, he alleged, adding that but Zoellick didn’t do so.

Zoellick had been forced to sing the decision to scrap the financing at the eleventh hour on the last working day of him at the World Bank, Hasan mentioned.

Referring to the reason behind the move, the minister said Dr Yunus illegally held the post of Grameen Bank Managing Director (MD) for additional 10 years and wanted to hold it further.

In Bangladesh, the age limit for serving as MD of a bank is 60 years and it is applicable for private banks too, he mentioned.

Dr Yunus held the Grameen Bank (GB) MD post for at least extra 10 years as he was in 70s at that time, Hasan said.

Hasan, also joint general secretary of ruling Awami League, said GB is a statutory body like Palli Sanchay Bank and Karma Sangsthan Bank where the government has shares.

At that time, the government owned 51 per cent shares of GB and others owned rest of 49 per cent shares.

Also Read

Rule is same for GB likewise other statutory bank, but Dr Yunus held the post violating the rules, he said.

The government didn’t ask him to step down from bank by leaving the MD post rather it asked him to be adviser, but at that time he lodged case against the government, he said.

Yunus had lost in the case in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court which meant the Apex Court ensured through its decisive verdict that Yunus illegally held the post, he said.

Noting that the government always tried to save GB, the information minister further said after the 1998 devastating flood, loan recipients of the bank could not pay back their debts and at that period, the government of prime minister Sheikh Hasina had invested Tk 400 crore (4 billion) in different times in the Grameen Bank.

Hasan said after assuming office for the first time, Sheikh Hasina gave license to Grameen Phone and license was also given to Dr Yunus in the name of Grameen Bank.

Also Read

At that time, it was stated that money of Grameen Phone would be credited to Grameen Bank, he said. “Had the money been credited to GB?” he posed a question.

In the Wednesday’s statement, Dr Yunus denied the donation he gave to Clinton Foundation. But when local and international newspapers published reports on it, he didn’t deny it, he said.

Today after many years back, why is he denying the matter? This means there is something wrong in it, he said.

“Bishwakabi Rabindranath Tagore had introduced microcredit system with the money he obtained from Nobel Prize. Though Dr Yunus obtained Nobel Prize showing microcredit, he kept his money of Nobel Prize in his personal bank account,” he said.

Even neither the money was credited to GB nor it was spent for any philanthropic activity, he added.

Describing the Yunus Centre’s statement is denial of truth, the minister reiterated that it is clear in broad daylight that Dr Yunus opposed Padma Bridge construction and WB’s financing.

Yunus never stated before that he didn’t make the evil efforts rather he arrogantly made various remarks in different places which are still “blowing in the wind”.

There will be no benefit in making efforts to hide in a superficial way, he said.

“If required, we will place more data and information on the matter before you,” he said.

Asked about Dr Yunus’s greetings for Padma Bridge opening, the minister said when the entire country becomes happy and those who opposed the bridge become ashamed, now his greetings is for hiding the disgrace.