(AFP) – May 16, 2012
DHAKA — Bangladesh on Wednesday set up a commission on the future of pioneering microfinance institution Grameen Bank and 54 related businesses headed by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.
Yunus was sacked as the head of Grameen Bank last year and the new commission is likely to raise fears about further interference in his anti-poverty work, which has earned plaudits around the world.
"The commission will review and recommend the regulatory institution and mechanism of Grameen Bank as to how to bring the bank under the purview of state regulatory agencies," the government order said.
It will also review "institutions, companies and enterprises established by the Grameen Bank," the order said, referring to the 54 offshoot businesses which Yunus still heads.
The move comes 10 days after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Bangladesh and threw her support behind Yunus and asked the government not to undermine Grameen Bank.
The commission was expected to look into the structure of the profitable network of ventures that include Grameen Bank's multi-billion-dollar stake in Grameenphone.
Despite winning the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus was removed from the helm of Grameen by the Bangladesh central bank in a move seen as engineered by an envious government.
Supporters say the step was retaliation after Yunus previously hinted at joining politics to break the logjam in a country bitterly divided for decades between two political parties.
His microfinance model of giving small loans to help poor, often female, workers has been credited with lifting millions of people out of poverty around the world.
Yunus was in Paris and unavailable for comment, his representatives said.
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