Statement by Yunus Center is futile attempt to conceal his hostility to Padma Bridge: Hasan

Published : 30 Jun 2022 09:56 PM

Information Minister and Awami League joint general secretary Dr Hasan Mahmud has termed the statement issued by the Yunus Center denying Dr Yunus' activities to stop the World Bank's financing of the Padma Bridge as a futile bid to conceal its oppose to Padma Bridge.

Elaborating on the statement of Yunus Center published in front of the journalists at the Secretariat on Thursday afternoon, he said that the tone of many protesters have changed their minds with the construction of Padma Bridge. 

“BNP is trying to change the tune a bit, though Mirza Fakhrul has not yet said anything. Today I saw that a notice has been sent to the media by the Yunus Center, which has drawn our attention,” he said. 

"I would like to present some statements and some facts in this regard with due respect to Dr Muhammad Yunus, one of the main opponents of the Padma Bridge, especially those who are trying to stop the financing of the World Bank," he said. Hassan said, "Dr Yunus played a key role in stopping the World Bank's financing of the Padma Bridge due to his special friendship with Hillary Clinton. It is as clear as daylight that everyone at home and abroad knows it."

The minister said, "Mr Jelik of the then World Bank said there was no good reason to stop it. Because first of all Bangladesh is one of the partner countries of the World Bank i.e. we have shares there. Secondly, Bangladesh has never been in default. Bangladesh's position in the world is very good in terms of debt repayment. Thus, despite constant pressure on Mr Jelik for no good reason, he did not do so. 

In the last hour of his last working day, the day he was retiring, he was forced to sign a decision to stop funding.

The Information Minister said, “This is because Dr Yunus was illegally the Managing Director or MD of Grameen Bank for an additional 10 years and wanted to stay longer. The age limit of MDs of the bank is 60 years in Bangladesh. No private bank can have an MD after this age. At that time he was in his 60's, that is, he was the MD for at least 10 extra years. And Grameen Bank is a statutory institution like Palli Sanchay Bank or Karma Sansthan Bank, where the government has shares. At that time the government's share in Grameen Bank was 51 percent and others 49 percent. The same law applies to other statutory banks. But he was in charge of the MD, thumbing his finger at the law. When the government asked him to leave the post of MD of Grameen Bank and become an advisor, he filed a case against the government. In the case, he went to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and lost. In other words, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has confirmed that he was illegally holding the post of MD.

The minister said the government has always tried to save Grameen Bank, adding that Sheikh Hasina's government had invested Tk 400 crore in Grameen Bank at different times, especially after the 1996 floods when their borrowers could not repay the money.

Hasan Mahmud said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was given the license of Grameen Phone for the first time when she was given the responsibility of running the country and Dr Muhammad Yunus Saheb was given the license in the name of Grameen Bank. Then it was said that the money of Grameen Phone will go to Grameen Bank. But did that money go to Grameen Bank! Couldn't go. The money went to various places without going to Grameen Bank and he denied the grant he made to the Clinton Foundation in a statement yesterday. But he did not deny it when it appeared in all the newspapers at home and abroad.”

Poet Rabindranath Tagore introduced small loans with the money of the Nobel Prize, and talking about small loans, the Nobel Laureate Dr Yunus's prize money is in his personal account, he did not go to Grameen Bank, he did not spend it on any other public welfare work,” said the Broadcasting Minister.

Referring to the statement of Yunus Center, the Information Minister said, "It is as clear as day that Mr. Yunus has opposed the Padma Bridge and the World Bank's funding for it." He had never said before that he had run this malpractice. On the contrary, when the World Bank's funding stopped, he boasted and said various things in different places, which are still floating in the air. Thus, there is no benefit in trying to cover the fish with vegetables. If necessary, we will appear before you with more information. '

Dr Yunus congratulated for the Padma Bridge. Replying to a question regarding it, the Minister said, "Now that the whole country is rejoicing, those who opposed the Padma Bridge are very ashamed. This is a congratulation on his shameful attempt at covering up”