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  #26  
Old November 13, 2012, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shuziburo
If laws have been broken, then the proper mechanisms should be used to bring the lawbreakers to justice. Not what has been going on. Plus, even in Bangladesh, "innocent until proven guilty" applies. Clearly, the media circus has nothing to do with justice.
This is the broad chain of events since this whole Yunus affair started:

1. A Norwegian documentary is released in late 2010 on irregularities in GB which brings the issue of misappropriated funds to the attention of the international community as well as Bangladeshi authorities. NORAD then explains that the whole issue has been resolved amicably with Dr. Yunus but it is an embarrassment for the Government as they: a) did not follow up on the irregularities reported in a Bangladesh Bank Audit Report conducted in the late 90s and b) did not, overall, scrutinize the actions of Grameen Bank's since 1983. It is also noteworthy that since this incident, the Embassy formally ended their funding arrangement with GB in 2003; an arrangement that had been so lucrative for GB since 1986, when they first started receiving support from Norway and which by 1997 totaled NOK 392.639 million.

2. Investigation starts by Gov. and Bangladesh Bank (BB)

3. Letter is sent in March 2011 to Dr. Yunus by BB indicating that he had overstayed his legally permitted tenure.

4. After these two issues were raised the Gov. set up a 5-member Inquiry Committee to review the operations of the Bank and they made certain recommendations.

5. Dr. Yunus brings a writ petition against the Gov. on the issue of his superannuation and his and GB's legal status. In May 2011, the Apex Court ruled that GB is a 'statutory public authority' created by the Grameen Bank Ordinance, 1983 and as Dr. Yunus is a 'public servant' under the same Ordinance, he is bound by the regulations that govern public servants - hence why his superannuation was at 60. (It is important to note how conclusive such a judgment is as it is made by an apex body. Disregarding its judgment is tantamount to disregarding the Constitution as it's the head arbiter of the supreme law of the country.)

6. An Independent Inquiry Commission is set up under the Inquiry Commissions Act with a very different panel from the earlier Committee, who are tasked with unearthing the factual matrix which underlies the entire issue i.e. the legal status of GB and its associated entities, who 'owns' GB and its associated entities and who 'runs' GB and its associated entities and then make recommendations on how to bring its operations in line with the law, if any divergences are found. The work of the Inquiry Commission is ongoing.

7. Nicholas Kristoff, Richard Branson, 17 Female US Senators, Madeleine Albright, the former Irish President, the Economist, etc. all expressed concern in various ways about the 'government takeover' of GB, its potential harmful effect on women and the political vendetta they feel underlies this entire issue. The Gov. have gone on to express their ire over this issue and tried to posit their view that this does not amount to a takeover and that they will seek to uphold the rights of women, through a series of letters, rebuttals and gaffes.

That's basically how it stands now. Not ideal, but hardly Soviet-style nationalisation either. Needless to say this is an immensely complex issue and given the popularity of Dr. Yunus worldwide, it is unsurprising that it is catching headlines more regularly than legal violations in other areas - not that I agree with it or with Jadukor bhai that some legal issues have been getting shamefully little attention. (For instance, the murder of labor leader Amirul Islam....)
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  #27  
Old November 13, 2012, 02:57 PM
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Little astonished seeing this coming from you. Don't know if you are defending Hasina or simply stating the events.

The Nowegian /Denmark documentary wasn't a corruption case. It was that the donation was used for programs which was not mentioned in the purpose donation was approved for by another NGO. This was investigated and cleared of the allegation by the Norwegian government. It was found to be a false accusation by one Journalist. Now we can understand who fed that guy to make it.

The only issue Awami League has is that, he over stayed his tenure.... These political junks overstay in the power for years and keep extending their pets years after years in government jobs and this guy is a Nobel prize winner, and it's his own organization. Any other country would have requested him to continue as long as he wants, for the benefit of the organization.

These characterless BD politicians are out to translate their vindictive act /Jealousy into legal matter by leaving their dogs after Younus?? We all know how serious this legal issue is in comparison to everyday violation by the same people. Sorry... These genetically modified high breed corrupt beings aren't worth cleaning younus's undergarments. The people whose entire existence is illegal, akontho jara corruption e nimojjito and they talk about legality...?? And a sensible person would defend these people calling it a legal issue...have we gone so low even as a nation!! Didn't realize...

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  #28  
Old November 13, 2012, 04:36 PM
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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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  #29  
Old November 13, 2012, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navo
*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 theki 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.
brother, bokey hat dia bolen to BAL have been doing all these to Dr.yunus just because he/his organization broke the law? bhai, amgore ki abul paichen? naki amra bunch of bolods? there are thousands in BAL'S own party who are law breakers, murderers (BCL), where is the law for them? or they are all above the law just bcause they belong to BAL ? bhai don't try to defend hasina or her dogs who are barking at yunus non stop. I will take so called law breaker like yunus anyday.
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  #30  
Old November 14, 2012, 01:16 AM
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I think Navo is pointing out some of the valid legal issues surrounding the scapegoating, not disputing the vindictive nature of this definitive Yunusing. Nor is he disputing the appalling hypocrisy inherent in selective law enforcement subverting the very concept of "equal treatment under the law" as the very heart of justice.

There is no need to jump on him or anyone else based on bad faith and presumptuous suspicion, and flaunt one's own issues in the process.
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  #31  
Old November 14, 2012, 01:22 AM
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CricketPagolChele Bhai, apni amar post ta ki porechen?

Didn't I say that "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."

Did I ever say that BCL thugs are above the law or that the Padma Bridge corruption allegations shouldn't be investigated? I am trying to say that an investigation of GB should happen at the same time as the perpetrators of the above mentioned crimes are brought to justice!
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  #32  
Old November 14, 2012, 04:51 PM
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I also would like to see an impartial investigation about GB. But, I would not hold my breath, because I'll probably suffocate to death. Expect the mud-throwing to continue, but nothing else. I have zero faith in our legal instruments.
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  #33  
Old November 14, 2012, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CricketPagolChele
brother, bokey hat dia bolen to BAL have been doing all these to Dr.yunus just because he/his organization broke the law? bhai, amgore ki abul paichen? naki amra bunch of bolods? there are thousands in BAL'S own party who are law breakers, murderers (BCL), where is the law for them? or they are all above the law just bcause they belong to BAL ? bhai don't try to defend hasina or her dogs who are barking at yunus non stop. I will take so called law breaker like yunus anyday.
Bhai apnar shomosha ta kothai??

You never seem to refute or provide counter argument instead every time you cannot provide a proper definitive counter logic you seem the target the messenger...
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  #34  
Old November 14, 2012, 09:04 PM
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@Shuza Bhai: There's nothing wrong with the legal instruments. The horrible problem lies in their iniquitous, subverted and unlawful application. Can't throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. What we need is cohesive political and judicial reform and that is a very long process indeed. I applaud true believers like Navo for doing what is hard and therefore worthwhile, and playing his part in this slow, exasperating and difficult process from within. Someone's gotta do it. Someone's gotta make the sacrifice, and I'm grateful that highly qualified, idealistic young guys like Navo have put up their hands
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  #35  
Old November 16, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Brilliant research and analysis by Navo - must give credit where it's due. My feeling about GB has been that of ambivalence. At times I've felt really good about Dr Yunus winning the nobel prize, garnering worldwide attention and all that. Other times I've been saddened by the horrific stories of GB workers taking everything away from poor folks who are unable to repay their debt with exorbitant compounded interests. Then I tell myself "if something seems too good to be true then maybe it is too good to be true", and like most things in life accept GB with both its good and bad and move on. However, I'm very curious to learn more about this part of the argument--
Quote:
Originally Posted by Navo
And then there is the issue of "if its all in the greater good, why not just let these 'legal technicalities' slide?" or "what have these politicians given us, compared to the name and fame garnered by Dr. Yunus?" versus "is micro-credit successful at all in alleviating poverty?" [But more on this another time]
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Old November 16, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Thank you for your kind words zman.

As you expressed an interest in studies on the effectiveness of microfinance, I'll show you three links that I have come across in my research, though they do not play a central role in my article as the point of my article is not to establish the substantive efficacy of GB and micro-finance (I'm not qualified to do that) but to better understand its legal status and working.

1. Lamia Karim (2008) "Demystifying Micro-Credit: The Grameen Bank, NGOs and Neoliberalism in Bangladesh" Cultural Dynamics 20(1): 5-29 (The article is attached)

Dr. Lamia Karim teaches at the University of Oregon. In her own words, it is an article that is an interpretation of variable, contingent, and local expressions of grassroots globalization through an ethnographic study of globalization and neoliberalism in rural Bangladesh. It examines how globalization and neoliberalism are brought to the grassroots—the most intimate sphere of the social, the home and women—through the modernist discourse of women’s empowerment through micro-credit...she examines how Bangladeshi rural women’s honor and shame are instrumentally appropriated by NGOs in the welfare of their capitalist interests.

2. Brennpunkt, "Norad has changed strategy: No More Financing of New MFIs" (19.06.2012) Available online at:

NRK is the TV channel and Brennpunkt is the programme on which the controversial Norwegian documentary "Caught in Micro Credit" was aired. They raised the issue of the irregular fund transfers between Grameen Bank and Grameen Kalyan, which was then later dismissed by Eric Solheim, the then Minister for Development and the Environment, as having been resolved amicably. However, this article shows how the pendulum so to speak. Norad will no longer sponsor micro finance institutions. This is incredibly significant as they have provided hundreds of millions of kroners to institutions like GB since 1986. I'll take you to the quote of Trond Viken, the spokesperson for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and thus of NORAD as well: "Norad pays close attention to the global trends within micro finance, and this includes research on the effects of micro finance. Norad is well aware of the discussions that goes on, on the possible need for credit checks, a possible credit register, regulations of the sector on national level and new systems to ensure openness and transparency in the sector."

3. Duvendack M, Palmer-Jones R, Copestake JG, Hooper L, Loke Y, Rao N (2011) What is the evidence of the impact of microfinance on the well-being of poor people? London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. Available online here:

This is the policy brief (executive summary) of a comprehensive study done by DFID on the soundness of studies done on microfinance, as well as the efficacy of microfinance in general. It is to be remembered that the UK Development Agency has also provided MFIs in Bangladesh with substantial sums of money. I would obviously recommend reading the full report for those who are genuinely interested but the gist of the article is clear from this: "Despite the apparent success and popularity of microfinance, there is no clear evidence yet that microfinance programmes have broadly positive impacts for most participants. While anecdotes and other inspiring stories purport to show that microfinance can make a real difference in the lives of those served, rigorous quantitative evidence on the nature, magnitude and balance of microfinance impact is still scarce and inconclusive."
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Karim_Microcredit.pdf (119.9 KB, 4 views)
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  #37  
Old November 16, 2012, 09:49 PM
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I have always found this blog to be informative about understanding Microfinance, especially learning about the details of Grameen model.
http://blogs.cgdev.org/open_book/201...rest-rates.php
(this particular link talks about definitive measurement of GB interest rate, this information is often misquoted).

@zman, I also hear stories about grameen workers taking away properties... but i never heard any specific where the information is verified by multiple news agency or never saw any studies about it. Microfinance is getting so much attention, why aren't there any studies showing these wrong doing which are not supposed to happen in the Grameen Microfinance Model. I would really like to see some evidence in this regard.

Personally, I think Dr. Younis served the institution of microfinance poorly, when he tried to sell it as poverty alleviation model. Instead, he should have mentioned what it actually does, which is to provide financial service to a segment of population, that otherwise has no access to it. As a by-product of this service, some people will come of poverty and will go further in debt. But, the net spending of all GB loan takers will go up. In addition, the interest rate in Grameen is lowest in the microfinance industry, they definitely deserve credit for this.

@Navo: Can you tell me about the recent changes in constitution of Grameen Bank. Do you think the govt overreached to make sure that Younis have no say in determining his successor. I agree with argument about need to follow rule of law, but at the same time when I see how rule of law is being applied selectively and there is no outcry about it... I just end up eroding my faith in our legal system.
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Old November 17, 2012, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cricket_pagol
@Navo: Can you tell me about the recent changes in constitution of Grameen Bank. Do you think the govt overreached to make sure that Younis have no say in determining his successor. I agree with argument about need to follow rule of law, but at the same time when I see how rule of law is being applied selectively and there is no outcry about it... I just end up eroding my faith in our legal system.
@Cricket_pagol, to answer that question, you have to take a step back and look at what GB's legal status is. To do so, you go to its founding document i.e. The Grameen Bank Ordinance, 1983. It has to be noted how GB is founded and regulated by a statute i.e. a piece of legislation rather than incorporated under a statute like the Companies Act, 1994 and regulated by the Bank Companies Act. In fact, the latter two Acts don't even apply to GB as indicated by Section 4 of the GB Ordinance. Also, without going into excessive detail, it is clear from a plain-reading of this statute that the GB Ordinance has granted substantial powers to both the Government and the Bangladesh Bank. It has powers over how the Bank is administered, governed and dissolved if necessary. The special status of GB has been further affirmed by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court when they ruled that GB is a 'statutory public authority' (i.e. a part of the State) and Dr. Yunus is a 'public servant' and thus his tenure is governed by the rules and regulations that govern other public servants. (This is the basis on which Dr. Yunus' petition to the Supreme Court was dismissed) So, as a State entity, any change made to how Managing Directors are appointed would have to be authorised by a legislative amendment to the Grameen Bank Ordinance just as a special resolution needs to be passed for a company's articles of association to be amended.

So that's the 'legality' of such a move. Now, whether it is a good idea or not to amend the Governing Document and have the govt-appointed Chairman have greater say in how GB's MD is appointed is another matter. I have to think about that a bit more. I have found that India and a few other countries in Europe are considering quite rigorous and restrictive micro-finance legislation in their respective legislatures at the moment though....

And regarding the point you addressed to zman, I'd recommend reading the DFID policy brief (and full report if you're really interested) on the impact of microfinance that I linked above. It not only considers microfinance's impact substantively but also the accuracy of over 3000 studies conducted on microfinance. The fact that the study is funded by an organisation that has been a long-time supporter and financier of MFIs adds greater significance to its findings.
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Old November 19, 2012, 05:25 PM
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@Navo, thank you for your explanation and pdf that you uploaded.

Here is a hour long interview of Lamia Karim, I thought you might be interested:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1ec64ItG3I

In the interview, she mentions that people from the loan group participate in "House Breaking/Ghor Bhanga" of a member from their group, who cannot pay their loan on time. The MFI's cannot do it, since it is not written in the rules, but the group members do it because they would not be able to get new loans without repayment of previous loans. And, the loan collector plays the role of an instigator.

I would like to know the fraction of lender that to go through house breaking. Also, get an institutional breakdown of which institutions are worst offender.

My thoughts:
Lots of reforms are needed in the field of micro-financing to reduce exploitation. I am still under the impression that Grameen is the holy grail in the field and has the lowest interest compared to BRAC and other MFIs. The profit driven NGO's are the worst offenders. So hailing BRAC in one sentence, and then trashing Grameen in the next sentence, seems somewhat contradictory me.
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