When Corrupt Politicians Throw Mud At Their Most Prodigal Son
The alleged shenanigans by the Nobel Laureate Bangladeshi economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus and all the brouhaha by the current Administration of Bangladesh discrediting the pioneer of Micro-credit is nothing more than storm over a tea cup.
It all started when a TV documentary Fanget i Mikrogjeld or Caught in Micro debt; was aired on National Norwegian Television, NRK that showed Dr. Yunus had illegally transferred nearly 100 million dollars of donor money from Grameen Bank to another associate organization, Grameen Kalyan.
The director of the film, Tom Heinemann mentioned that despite his repeated attempts he could not have an audience with Dr. Yunus, nonetheless, his investigation with Norway embassy, Norwegian aid agency Norad, and the Economic Relations Division in Bangladesh revealed that Grameen Bank had only returned $ 30 million when demanded by Norway, and the remainder remained with Grameen Kalyan.
The most damning discovery in the documentary was a revelation that Yunus in desperation wrote a personal letter on April 1, 1998 to the then CEO of Norad requesting help: “If the people, within and outside government, who are not supportive of Grameen, get hold of this letter we'll face real problems in Bangladesh.” This however was the extent of damage to Yunus's reputation, provided the text of the letter was true.
The declared transgression occurred in 1996; Grameen Bank and Dr. Yunus both have explained their positions through proper channel, why then is such a big fuss now, after 14 years? Let's examine the other part of the documentary, for which Heinemann, and his film crew traveled several times to Bangladesh, and visited some villages where Grameen Bank had their operations.
Heinemann found and documented several individuals whose lives had been ruined because of Grameen Bank loans. He went on record to say, "Almost all of the loan takers interviewed told the same story. Each one had multiple loans in various micro-credit banks and organizations and had had a hard time trying to pay back their loans. Some had sold their house, others had their tin-sheets pulled off their houses to cover the weekly payments."Continued on the next page