Bangladesh Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus pleaded guilty and apologised for violating the country labour laws after which he was acquitted with a fine of $88. Yunus and three other senior officials of Grameen Communications were accused of violating the labour laws who admitted the guilt and tendered an apology to the labour court.
Yunus has been in a legal tangle facing over 100 lawsuits filed by the disgruntled employees of Grameen Telecom (GT). According to media reports, the telecoms unit of the Grameen bank was bound to share five per cent of the company’s profit with the workers but for the last 10 years, the GT has allegedly not shared the profits.
In October last year, an arrest warrant was issued against Yunus after he failed to appear in court for hearing in a case over the sacking of employees from a company headed by him. Three employees of Grameen Communications (GC) were sacked for allegedly trying to set up a trade union.
Yunus has been at loggerheads with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since 2007 after he expressed the desire to enter politics. In 2011, Yunus was sacked as the head of Grameen Bank citing a review of Grameen Bank activities. Yunus supporters allege that Sheikh Hasina orchestrated the whole thing to oust him.
Yunus launched collateral-free microcredit scheme for rural entrepreneurs of Bangladesh through Grameen Bank which was founded by him in 1983. In 2006, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to empower the rural entrepreneurs. The Norwegian Nobel Committee jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Yunus and the Grameen Bank “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.”
Yunus has received several awards and accolades for his ideas and actions. Apart from the Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus has been honoured with the lndependence Day Award (Bangladesh’s highest award), Franklin D Roosevelt Freedom Award, Seoul Peace Prize and Nikkei Asia Prize for Regional Growth among others. The Norwegian Nobel Institute had said that Yunus “sought to realise his vision of self-support for the very poorest people by means of loans on easy terms”.
(With agency inputs)