Grameen Bank Refutes Charges
Saturday, 04 December 2010

Grameen Bank has dismissed reports that its founder Muhammad Yunus had diverted nearly Tk 7 billion in aid to another company as "inaccurate and misleading".

It denied any wrongdoing and said 'these reports are a total fabrication and baseless".

Norway's national TV NRK aired a documentary on November 30 titled "Fanget i Mikrogjeld" or "Caught in Micro debt", based on which bdnews24.com ran a report on December 1. According to the documentary, Nobel laureate Yunus transferred the money to Grameen Kalyan, which was in no way involved with microcredit operations.

Responding to the allegations, Grameen Bank said there was no wrongdoing in the agreement between the bank and Grameen Kalyan under which it received Tk 3,917 million from the bank.

"Decisions were taken by Grameen Bank Board, with due deliberation, good faith, and with good intentions to benefit the poor," the rejoinder said.

Grameen Kalyan was never given the control of possession of Tk 3,917 million, rather it lent back Tk 3474 million to Grameen Bank which created an opportunity to charge interest on the loan.

"Only Tk 442 million remained with Grameen Kalyan as it was created out of the interest."

The rejoinder said the bank and donors agreed to create Social Advancement Fund (SAF) with 2 per cent interest rate on the donor money for the welfare of the Grameen Bank borrowers and employers.

"Grameen Kalyan received 2.0 per cent interest on the money."

"Grameen Bank believed that if the SAF was kept within the Grameen Bank and managed by Grameen Bank then it would not receive the attention it deserves."

In addition to that, contribution to SAF would have been subjected to 40 per cent tax and it might have compelled the bank to reduce or stop charging 2.0 per cent interest rate on revolving fund to contribute to SAF, the rejoinder said.

It said the whole issue was a matter of differing views by Grameen Bank and Norad, the Norwegian aid agency

"Grameen Bank did not want go into battle on this issue and so jeopardize our excellent relationship. Grameen Bank reversed its decision and restored the status quo."

Source: bdnews24.com

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