To hide his crimes, Microcredit ‘godfather’ Muhammad Yunus uses Nobel Prize as shield


There already is growing media buzz as on January 1, 2024, a labor court in Dhaka, Bangladesh, delivered a significant blow to Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus and three others associated with Grameen Telecom. The court sentenced them to six months in jail and imposed fines for violating labor laws, following a case filed against them by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) Inspector Arifuzzaman.

The charges included not regularizing 101 staff, failing to establish a welfare fund for laborers, and neglecting to pay five percent of the company’s dividends to workers, among other violations. Grameen Telecom chairman Dr. Yunus, along with director Md Ashraful Hasan, and Board members Nur Jahan Begum and Md Shahjahan, faced the legal consequences.

Judge Sheikh Merina Sultana of Dhaka’s 3rd Labor Court emphasized that the verdict was against the chairman of Grameen Telecom, not the Nobel Laureate. The court found the charges proven beyond a reasonable doubt, leading to a six-month jail term and fines.

In response to the verdict, Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Bangladesh’s Information and Broadcasting Minister, clarified that the government was not involved in filing the case and insisted that it was the workers who sought justice for unpaid dues. Dr. Mahmud highlighted Grameen Telecom’s legal obligation to distribute five percent of profits to employees, alleging that this had not been honored.

The minister also shed light on alleged violations, tax evasion, and misappropriation of funds by Grameen Telecom over the past decade. He argued that Dr. Yunus’s appointment as Managing Director in 1990 violated the Grameen Bank Ordinance, and his subsequent actions as a public servant were in violation of employment terms.

Dr. Mahmud firmly asserted that the court’s decision was independent, refuting claims of government interference. However, in response, Muhammad Yunus maintained that they were being punished for a crime they had not committed.

Meanwhile, the verdict prompted a flurry of disinformation on social media, with ultra-Islamist groups and cyber-activists accusing the Bangladesh government of political motivations. Allegations surfaced that David Bergman, an Al Jazeera contributor, entered into a contract with opposition parties, namely, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami to defame the government and spread disinformation centering this issue.

Giving details of David Bergman’s engagement with Bangladesh’s political forces, media reports claim, he had entered into a four-point contract lobbyist and propagandist assignment jointly with Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami to (a) defame, debunk and demean Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Awami League by any means; (b) project BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami as the only credible alternative in Bangladesh; (c) Oppose and undermine the credibility of the International War Crimes Trials; (d) continue to mislead international media, particularly the Western media with series of disinformation and lies.

Following the January 1 conviction of Muhammad Yunus, David Bergman and his entire team has launched massive propaganda claiming – the court order was “politically motivated”. In addition to such massive spread of disinformation through social media platforms, Bergman is also making frantic bids in engaging international media outlets, including Al Jazeera in favor of Muhammad Yunus, despite the fact, majority of the mainstream newspapers in the West are declining requests from Yunus to publish anything in his defense. As a result, in March 2023, Muhammed Yunus paid US$73,000 to the Washington Post for publishing a full-page advertisement praising Yunus.

Justifying publishing a full-page advertisement by spending US$73,000 in The Washington Post, Yunus wrote in his blog that The Washington Post did not publish it as a report fearing it would result in refusal of visa applications when any reporter of this newspaper wishes to visit Bangladesh.

For many decades, Muhammad Yunus succeeded in remaining in the attention of international media as well as global celebrities and leaders, by continuing self-promotion as ‘savior of poor’, ‘father of microcredit’ etc. Interestingly, quite a large number of leaders in the West, including former US First Lady Hillary Clinton remain a great admirer of Muhammad Yunus, not just because the Clinton family considers him as an angelic individual, but because Yunus has been one of the biggest donors of Clinton Foundation. While Yunus succeeded in duping almost the entire world into the intrigue web of lies and falsehood, in Bangladesh, millions of poor people are visibly bleeding being trapped into debt trap of Grameen Bank as well multiple microfinance ventures of this monstrous individual, who has been robbing-off poor with exorbitant amount of interest on the amount Yunus lends.

But none of the exposures of him being a blood-sucking lender and cause of sufferings, starvation and even death of a massive number of poor in Bangladesh – the name Muhammad Yunus stands out prominently, hailed as the pioneer of microcredit and the founder of Grameen Bank. He has been given accolades after accolades and even projected as a saintly individual.

However, lately – beneath the surface, a series of controversies have marred the reputation of Yunus, his brainchild Grameen Bank, and its affiliated organization, Grameen Telecom and Grameen Kalyan.

The legal proceedings against Dr. Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Telecom executives underscore the principle that Nobel laureates, despite their international acclaim, are not immune to legal scrutiny. The case is a matter between the accused and their employees, and any claims of political interference should be addressed through the legal system. If Dr. Yunus maintains his innocence, his legal team would need to substantiate this through the appeal process within Bangladesh’s higher courts. Instead of this legal process, any attempt of Dr. Yunus or his lobbyists and publicists in using the media as a tool of exerting undue pressure of Bangladesh government or its legal system can only shed further doubts on him and may even prompt the international media to launch investigation into activities of Dr. Muhammad Yunus centering microcredit or any of his previous and current ventures.


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