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Tuesday, August 7, 2012
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Grameen Bank

Tax men swoop on 54 entities

The National Board of Revenue yesterday launched a hunt for tax-related information on Grameen Bank's 54 associated but legally independent entities.

The NBR asked one of its tax zones to provide it with income tax records of the bank's associated organisations, an NBR official said yesterday, a week after the Grameen Bank Commission sent a letter to the tax authority.

The cabinet last week asked the finance ministry to find out whether the bank's founder Prof Muhammad Yunus fetched any foreign currencies from abroad under the wage earner scheme facility “as a government official”.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday had a meeting with Grameen Bank Commission Chairman Mamunur Rashid.

Muhith briefed the commission on the government's expectations from the microcredit organisation, he told reporters, without elaboration, after the meeting at the Secretariat.

The minister said the government moved to amend the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 "just to appoint the managing director of the bank."

Muhith said the government is vetting the changes to the ordinance that governs the Nobel Peace Prize winning organisation.

Once it is done, the ordinance will be promulgated, as parliament is now in recess.

The meeting also discussed a plan to appoint an audit firm to look into the relationship between the Grameen Bank and its associated organisations, and whether these organisations borrowed any money from the bank, said sources.

The government plans to appoint the auditor so that the commission's report on the bank and its activities is accepted at home and abroad.

The government claims that those organisations are part of the Grameen Bank and had been set up with the money from the mother organisation.

Prof Yunus, who set up those organisations to solve social problems, and his legal advisers say that all those organisations are legally independent and have no links with the Grameen Bank.

On May 16 this year, the government set up the four-member commission to review the activities of the Grameen Bank and its associated organisations, and make recommendations on how to run the organisations.

The commission, which will review the regulatory institutions and mechanism of the Grameen Bank, has been asked to submit a report within three months. It will also recommend ways to bring the bank under the purview of state regulatory agencies.

The government plans to amend the ordinance to reduce the powers of the bank's board and give more authority to its chairman to pick the bank's managing director. The cabinet division last week approved the changes.

The post of the bank's managing director fell vacant after Prof Yunus resigned in May last year following his removal from the bank he had set up three decades ago to take financial services to the poor.

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Last time I asked everyone to prepare for Grameen Bank's funeral. Now, let's line up for janaza.

: Truth Teller

This is becoming extremely boring now!

: Akhtar Shah


  • Saleh MD Shahriar
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 02:34 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    How long the discussion on the Grameen Bank will go on? Do the government pay heed to that discussion?

  • Sellma
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 05:10 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    We are still waiting for the government to publish all correspondence from WB in reference to Padma bridge.

  • Sarwar, Riyadh
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 05:18 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    It is simply unfortunate for the nation to see how mean a democratically elected government could be with an individual citizen who brought name and fame for the country while! Does not Professor Yunus deserve a respectful way of vengeance? What happens to us? What are these leaders teaching the future generation?

  • Shabbir A. Bashar
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 06:17 AM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    Paying taxes is the biggest form of bearing individual and corporate social responsibility in the modern age. No one has any legal or moral authority to escape it. I am glad Grameen is finally coming under the microscope just like the Destiny group. Better late than never. It is necessary for fostering a culture of transparency and accountability in the non government organisations.

  • Manzoor Ashraf
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 07:05 AM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    How about these snoring taxmen go through the books of all the business houses so that the tax collection is increased from below 9%!

  • T.Raiden
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 08:48 AM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    I am scared that personal vengeance will cost his (DrYunus) life. It is impossible to fight with the state machinery where rule of law plays no role.

  • Objective Observer
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 11:18 AM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    Well, this is very much within the routine functions of the government. However, the people must be informed about the outcome.

  • Sunagarik
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 11:24 AM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    It is frustrating to see the AL government is fighting with Noble Laureate and GB, who brought prestige for the country. Micro-credit theory is now adopted by many countries. AL should give more attention for bringing inflation down and price hike of essential, commodities, corruption, money extortion, tender monopoly by party-man.

  • Reaz Hassan
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 11:40 AM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    Excellent idea. The associated entities must be thoroughly probed as these are, according to some, engaged in unethical business. Good luck to Professor Yunus, and I wish he comes out real clean from the scan of audit teams.

  • S A Chowdhury
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 02:57 PM GMT+06:00 (183 weeks ago)

    Come on dear hon'ble finance minister please stop destroying the companies and image which Professor Yunus has built thru years of hard work.

  • Anonymous k
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 12:29 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    If the Nobel prize was officially exchangeable, all these problems would have been solved. It is not honorary degrees but a very prestigious prize that only can be earned not given. One who gets this prize should deserve it first before desiring.

  • Anonymous
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 12:48 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    Why were the tax men sleeping so long and now are swooping on the Grameen Bank entities ? Got a directive from somewhere ?

  • upfront
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 01:17 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    The Grammen bank and its replicated models are nightmare for Bangladesh. Instead of bring peace with the tradition of the Nobel Peace Prize, it is creating social disorders, political mudslinging and personal attack including fact finding about tax payment by some legal entity of the Bank. The founding father is also not spared. He is under severe scrutiny by the government apparently looking for revenge for its failure to get WB loan for the Padma bridge .

    Like the WB allegation about corruption in the process of consultant selection still waiting for legal proof in the court of law, the Nobel Laureate is also alleged to play some role in the cancellation of the WB loan and others waiting to follow the suit of the WB; but no legal proof could be furnished by any authority.

    Both of them are likely to be hear say and working according to built-in political objectives not proved either but belief of many suffering from complete frustration seeing the defeat of development in the hands of politics

    If one looks through the his or her third eyes, it is clear that both the government and the founding father of the Bank and his well wishers are enjoying the media time playing hide and sick with regard to legal requirement,transparency and immune status of Bank on any fact finding exercise even required from public interest to be looked into.

    It is widely said every day that the Grameen model is being replicated in other parts of the world where the socio-political environment favorable for the purpose.

    One might be very curious to learn the full list of the countries where GB model is being replicated and its operation plan on the ground including the interest structure which is becoming a serious political question; not to forget any political ramification designed with purpose, told or untold and non transparency question too.

    If there is any central command to see the GB process in action all over the world would be the most suitable institution to respond to this query. The founding father may also like to comment if feels comfortable and has the time to do so.

  • Mahmud Hussain
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 12:58 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    It's pity that a Noble Prize wining institution such as Grameen Bank is being nailed to its ultimate death. When will the God be pulling its string?

    ~ Patriot

  • Nasirullah Mridha,USA
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 01:31 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    After a long narcolepsy NBR woke up to find out Grameen tax evasion.Ruling AL is getting off with wrong foot to destroying the Grameen.NBR personnel should bring to fore for their long siesta on Grameen tax-related issues.We are nonplus to watching this maul on Grameen by AL.

  • Maswood Alam Khan
    Tuesday, August 7, 2012 01:41 AM GMT+06:00 (184 weeks ago)

    The best way to salvage Grameen Bank in Bangladesh now lies solely in the hands of Professor Yunus if only he agrees to renounce the Noble Peace Prize he was awarded or pass it on to someone else in Bangladesh who is powerful enough to let the bank run as planned by its founders and shareholders.





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