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Old November 13, 2012, 04:36 PM
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Navo Navo is offline
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*Sigh* I'm sorry to have fallen in your estimation Banfan bhai. But as a starry-eyed young lawyer, even after moving back home to more difficult conditions from the UK, I have to try and be impartial and see both sides of the issue. I stress that I am not attempting to favor one side over the other but obviously, when considering such a sensitive issue concerning a popular public figure, any argument against will be taken very negatively.

I quite agree that in a third world country like ours with its government regularly charged with corruption, it's difficult for the government to charge anyone with legal wrongdoing without it looking like the pot calling the kettle black. Believe me, I completely understand the logic that in such a country, the most corrupt should be dealt with first and then much later, go on to seeing if Nobel Prize winners etc. have committed any legal violations. Unfortunately, in reality, issues don't arise in such an organised fashion. In the Supreme Court, at this very moment, there are petitions seeking judicial review of laws and policies that were passed in the 70s, 80s and 90s - not one at a time, but simultaneously. Analogously, investigating GB can be done at the same time as invoking the courts to properly prosecute those who are involved in the Hallmark-Destiny scandals, Padma Multipurpose Bridge scandal, murder of Shagor and Runi, murder of labor leader, Amirul Islam, violence of Chattra League members, etc. irrespective of background or affiliation. They're not mutually exclusive.

I also have to ask you this: if there is any wrongdoing, if not the State through its executive organ i.e. Government (whether AL, BNP, Jatiya, Trinamool, Jamaat) or the Bangladesh Bank, who will be responsible for initiating an investigation? Who has the substantive legal authority to do so? Should we just go with what a foreign government or donor says, as they did by unilaterally clearing GB after the GB-Grameen Kalyan transfer issue? They have a better reputation but lack knowledge of the law of Bangladesh and not to mention it being a breach of our sovereignty. Or, do we take Dr. Yunus on his word, vest our trust in his innate integrity and not bother to ever look at the operations of GB at all?

With due respect, as part of my research, I have had the rare opportunity of inspecting many of Grameen Bank's legal documents, financial records, audit reports, Yunus Centre articles, etc. first hand and speaking to the Norwegian Embassy. So I am very well aware of the transactions between Grameen Bank and Grameen Kalyan, more aware than most I presume. As someone who lectures on Commercial Law, I'm also well aware of the implications such transactions might have. So I'm not expressing my concerns based on mere hearsay, speculation or some vendetta.

Do we find it so hard to swallow that someone internationally reputed and well-respected may be implicated in something unsavory? It's not unheard of. Would we feel diminished as a people if this comes to pass? Do we feel that if GB is found to be in violation of the law it would automatically mean that the reputation of the incumbent Government is suddenly redeemed? Of course, it wouldn't be! Whether Grameen Bank has set up companies outside of the purview of the Grameen Bank Ordinance has nothing to do with which minister or the other is involved in siphoning money/accepting bribes from the Padma Bridge project.
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