Legal barrier to holding Grameen Bank Board election likely to go

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The government is likely to take a move to remove the legal obstacles to holding the long-pending elections to the Board of Directors of Nobel peace prize-winning organisation Grameen Bank.

He said Finance Minister AMA Muhith will hold a meeting with the Attorney General to get a clear view about the legal problems of Grameen Bank.Grameen Bank has a 12-member Board of Directors, nine of them are directly elected by shareholders and borrowers of the bank and the rest of the directors, including the chairman, are nominated by the government.Three government-appointed directors have been running Grameen Bank since February, 2015 as the tenure of the nine elected directors came to an end.

These nine directors were elected on January 12, 2012 and took over charge on February 8, 2012. And their tenure expired on February 7, 2015 as per the law.Due to the absence of the nine elected directors, the activities of the renowned organisation are being hampered.Grameen Bank Chairman K Mozammel Haque last month wrote a letter to the Finance Minister for getting approval to change some of the electoral provisions.

Getting the letter from the Chairman, the Finance Minister recently held a meeting to discuss the overall situation of the microfinance organisation apart from the proposals of the Grameen Bank chairman.Finance Ministry sources said they are working to prepare the summary as per the directive of the Finance Minister.

Meeting sources said the Finance Minister asked for holding meetings of the board of directors regularly and taking advice from the Attorney General if any legal complication arises.The rules for the election of directors were changed in April 2014 and it gave the central bank the task to form a three-member commission to elect the nine directors.

As per the new rules, the election has to be held within six months after it comes into effect.But the central bank did not agree to take the additional responsibility. Then the Banking Division of the Finance Ministry amended the rules in October 2014. It said the government itself will form a three-member committee to elect the directors.

The amended rule again changed the timeframe for electing the board of directors and gave 12 months, which was six months, from the date of formation of the election commission.The rules said the committee will have two deputy managing directors,

one from a state-owned commercial bank and another from Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation. A former district judge will serve as the chief election commissioner. But the election has not yet taken place.

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