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Bangladesh to probe Grameen 'irregularities'

world Updated: Dec 23, 2010 18:30 IST
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The Bangladesh government on Thursday said it will probe allegations of financial irregularities against Muhammad Yunus' Grameen Bank.

Finance minister AMA Muhith said a committee would soon be formed to probe the working of the micro-credit bank.

The bank and Nobel laureate Yunus have been in news following an expose in a Norwegian film. Yunus has denied the charge of having illegally diverted funds to the bank's other projects.

The Norwegian government subsequently said there was nothing against Yunus or the bank and that a dispute that arose seven years ago had been amicably settled.

The bank on Thursday denied reports appearing in two Bengali dailies that Yunus had resigned as the bank's managing director.

"The newspaper reports are totally baseless," said a statement signed by Md Shahjahan, general manager of Grameen Bank.

Yunus pioneered Grameen Bank in the 1970s as a rural micro-credit venture aimed at empowering women. It has been hailed globally and many countries have used what has come to be called the Grameen model.

However, following the controversy over Norway's national TV NRK documentary aired Nov 30 titled "Fanget i Mikrogjeld" or "Caught in micro debt", Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina raised doubts about the Grameen venture.

Yunus said he would welcome a probe to clear his name and that of Grameen.

"We have got Norway's report. It will be investigated," Muhith was quoted as saying by on Thursday.

Asked by reporters why the government is busy criticising Yunus who brightened the country's image by winning the Nobel Peace Prize, the finance minister said: "It's not the government, it's you (media) who are doing this," Star Online, website of The Daily Star, said.