How Nobel laureates Grameen Bank and Muhammad Yunus turned un-noble

Dubious financial transactions and fraud by Noble Laureates


In the sphere of microfinance and poverty alleviation, Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank have been celebrated as nothing short of luminaries. Their work has not only been globally acclaimed but has also been honored with the highest of accolades, including the Nobel Peace Prize. However, recent investigations have peeled back layers of this humanitarian facade to reveal a disconcerting pattern of dubious financial transactions.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, often lionized as a “beacon of hope for the economically marginalized”, has been an unrelenting advocate for microfinance as a panacea for poverty. His magnum opus, the Grameen Bank, has been a cornerstone in providing microloans to the financially disenfranchised, circumventing the need for traditional collateral. Yet, emerging evidence suggests that this laudable mission may be a smokescreen for activities that are far from altruistic.

Scrutiny into the financial dealings of Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank has unearthed a complex web of transactions that not only raise eyebrows but also border on financial misconduct. The elaborate nature of these transactions seems to be a deliberate attempt to cloud the money trail, thereby shielding the true nature of these activities. This begs the question: What clandestine operations are being masked by their philanthropic endeavors?

The gravity of these revelations cannot be overstated. For entities that have been poster children for social justice and economic empowerment, these allegations are a damning indictment of their ethical integrity. Their silence in the wake of these accusations is not merely unsettling but also compounds the skepticism surrounding their operations.

The ripple effects of this scandal extend far beyond Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank. It threatens to undermine the credibility of the entire microfinance industry, casting a dark shadow over its future. In an age where transparency is not a mere buzzword but a societal demand, the reticence from such esteemed organizations is not just disappointing but also alarming.

But perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of this entire saga is the impact it has on the reputation of the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize has long been considered the epitome of human achievement in various fields. However, the involvement of Nobel laureates in activities that are ethically questionable, if not outright nefarious, tarnishes the very essence of this noble award. It raises a disquieting question: Have these Nobel laureates turned the Nobel Prize into an un-noble institution?

While the full extent of these murky transactions remains shrouded in mystery, the preliminary evidence is sufficiently damning. It serves as a stark reminder that no individual or institution, irrespective of their accolades or global esteem, is above scrutiny or accountability.

In an expansive web of entrepreneurial ventures, Professor Muhammad Yunus has established a plethora of companies either in collaboration with Grameen Bank or under the banner of the Grameen name, a Nobel laureate organization.

These include:

  1. Grameen Telecom Ltd,
  2. Grameen Distribution Ltd,
  3. Grameen Shikhya,
  4. Grameen Knitwear Ltd,
  5. Grameen Byaboshthha Bikash,
  6. Grameen IT Park,
  7. Grameen Capital Management,
  8. Grameen Solution Ltd,
  9. Grameen Dannon Foods Ltd,
  10. Grameen Healthcare Services Ltd,
  11. Grameen Star Education Ltd,
  12. Grameen Fabrics & Fashion Ltd, and
  13. Grameen Krishi Foundation.

While these companies ostensibly aim to further the cause of social welfare and economic development, the recent allegations of dubious financial transactions involving Yunus and Grameen Bank cast a pall of suspicion over the true objectives of these enterprises.

In addition to his collaborations with Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus has also founded several other companies, such as Grameen Kalyan, using Grameen Bank funds. These ventures encompass a wide range of sectors and include:

  • Grameen Capital Management Ltd
  • Grameen Solution Ltd
  • Grameen Udyog
  • Grameen IT Tech Ltd
  • Grameen Cybernet Ltd
  • Grameen Knitwear Ltd
  • Grameen IT Park
  • Tulip Dairy & Product Ltd
  • Globe Kids Digital Ltd
  • Grameen Biotech Ltd
  • Grameen Cybernet Ltd
  • Grameen Star Education Ltd
  • Rafiq Autovan Manufacturer Ltd
  • Grameen Information Highway Ltd
  • Grameen Byabosthha Sheba Ltd
  • Grameen Shamoygri

A glaring oversight in this intricate financial web involves NORAD, a primary donor to Grameen Bank, which was kept in the dark about significant financial transactions and fund routing. Astonishingly, transactions amounting to more than 1,000 crore Taka (equivalent to approximately US$ 100 million) were transferred from Grameen Bank to these affiliated organizations without any disclosure to NORAD, the original donor.

In a noteworthy development, decisions made in the board meeting of Nobel Laureate Grameen Bank led to the formation of ‘Grameen Kalyan’ and ‘Grameen Fund,’ both of which were capitalized with funds from Grameen Bank. According to legal stipulations, all subsequent organizations created under the auspices of Grameen Kalyan and Grameen Fund are technically part of Grameen Bank. Intriguingly, while representatives from Grameen Bank were part of the management boards of Grameen Kalyan and Grameen Fund up until 2020, there has been a conspicuous absence of any such representation since 2021.

Per the decision of the board of directors of Grameen Bank, the chairman of both Grameen Kalyan and Grameen Fund is to be nominated by Nobel Laureate Grameen Bank itself. However, a puzzling inconsistency arises here: Dr. Muhammad Yunus, who is no longer officially associated with Grameen Bank, continues to hold the post of Chairman for both Grameen Kalyan and Grameen Fund.

In the eye of this burgeoning financial storm are none other than Professor Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, both recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize and long-standing symbols of social entrepreneurship and poverty alleviation. Their involvement in this scandal is not just a blemish on their otherwise sterling reputations but also a disheartening revelation that raises questions about the integrity of Nobel laureates.

Both Yunus and Grameen Bank, as the masterminds behind a labyrinthine network of financial transactions now under intense scrutiny, find themselves teetering on the edge of a precipice. This precarious situation not only tarnishes their legacy but also calls into question the very foundation upon which their Nobel Prizes were awarded. Such allegations are particularly disconcerting given that the world holds Nobel Laureates to a higher standard of ethical conduct, making these accusations not just a personal or organizational failing, but a blemish on the reputation of the Nobel institution itself.

Furthermore, Hillary Clinton has lauded Muhammad Yunus as a “great friend of the U.S.,” and the Nobel Prize Committee has celebrated him as an advocate for peace, his silence on critical global issues is both conspicuous and unsettling. Notably, Yunus did not issue any public condemnation following the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil. Furthermore, he has remained conspicuously silent on the atrocities committed by extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, including the brutal treatment of Yazidis in the Middle East and the ongoing persecution of women in Afghanistan. This glaring absence of vocal condemnation raises questions about the depth and sincerity of his commitment to global peace and human rights.

As the layers of this intricate financial web continue to be peeled back, the revelations surrounding Professor Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank serve as a stark reminder that even the most revered individuals and institutions are not above scrutiny. The allegations against these Nobel Laureates are not just a blemish on their illustrious careers but also cast a shadow over the Nobel institution itself, which the world regards as a paragon of ethical and intellectual excellence. While the full extent of these murky dealings remains to be uncovered, the emerging evidence serves as a wake-up call for greater transparency and accountability, not just for Yunus and Grameen Bank, but for all those who bear the weighty mantle of a Nobel Prize.

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Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Muzaffar Ahmad Noori Bajwa
Contributing Editor of Blitz and Editor-in-chief of The Eastern Herald. He regularly writes on international politics and diplomacy.

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