Yunus loses final appeal against Grameen sacking

Reuters/Noor Khamis

Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a final attempt by Nobel-winning microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus to overturn his sacking from the bank he founded.


Yunus's lawyers lodged a recall request after his appeal was turned down last month in a power struggle with the government for control of Grameen Bank, where he developed the concept of microfinance cash loans to tackle poverty.

Yunus did not attend the hearing.

"After this order, Yunus should not cling to his position any more," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said. "His legal battle is meaningless. He has wasted the time of the court."

Judges ruled that Grameen Bank was a government institution, not a private bank as Yunus and his legal team argued, meaning employees must abide by the state's mandatory retirement age of 60.

Yunus, who is 70, was removed as head of Grameen Bank by the Bangladesh central
bank on 2 March 2 but he returned to work and lodged a legal case challenging the dismissal.

Lobby group Friends of Grameen said it was "deeply disappointed and saddened by the decision".

"We are extremely preoccupied about the independence of the bank and of microcredit institutions in Bangladesh," a statement said.

Supporters say Yunus has been victimised by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whom he crossed in 2007 when he briefly set up a political party during a period of military rule.

The government was also said to be unhappy about Grameen's huge influence in Bangladesh and its move into solar panels, mobile phones and other consumer goods.

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