DHAKA, June 4, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh today hailed the investigation opened by the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary to look into the alleged interference by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, taking advantage of her position, to influence an "independent government investigation" against Muhammad Yunus.
"We are happy...I think this investigation would help stop any powerful country's move to establish supremacy over comparatively a under developed country,' said ruling Awami League Joint Secretary and the party spokesperson Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif.
Talking to BSS today, he said the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has personal and family relationship with Dr. Muhammad Yunus, phoned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and put pressure on her to reinstate Prof. Yunus to the post of Grameen Bank's Managing Director despite crossing official age limit.
"Putting pressure on a sovereign country government by taking advantage of such big official position is undesirable and unethical...so we welcome the US senate's decision in opening investigation in this regard," said Hanif.
Earlier, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M. Shahriar Alam welcomed the move by the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary saying 'such practice of interference in the internal affairs of another country using an important office must stop'.
"It shows no one is above the law," he said and thanked Senator Grassley's office for looking into this as everything mentioned in the letter was accurate. The state minister now in Japan said the US Senate Committee's move will 'expose' Prof Yunus' 'wrongdoings' even further. This was a case of obstruction of justice by a foreign country, he added.
Talking to BSS former Ambassador Muhammad Zamir hailed the US senate committee's decision to open the investigation.
"We have to wait for comments till the investigation is completed. Since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her son made comments on this," he said when his comments were sought on the matter.
The former diplomat said that all have to wait for results since the senate committee opens the investigation. He, however, thanked the senate committee to investigate into the matter as such allegations regarding putting pressure on a sovereign country is "undesirable".
Meanwhile, as part of the investigation, Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary issued a letter, on June 1, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, seeking additional information on a range of issues, and interview of an US official, seemingly relevant to this inquiry.
"If the Secretary of State used her position to intervene in an independent investigation by a sovereign government simply because of a personal and financial relationship stemming from the Clinton Foundation rather than the legitimate foreign policy interests of the United States, then that would be unacceptable," Grassley wrote in the letter which he posted on his website.
"Co-mingling her official position as Secretary of State with her family foundation would be similarly inappropriate," he wrote.
"It is vital to determine whether the State Department had any role in the threat of an IRS audit against the son of the Prime Minister in retaliation for this investigation."
According to the letter, "The allegations of special treatment include reports of a threatened IRS audit of the Bangladeshi prime minister's son, living in the United States, if he did not help quash a Bangladeshi government investigation of the businessman and Clinton organization donor, Dr. Muhammad Yunus.
The letter said, for decades, Yunus has been heralded by the Clinton Foundation and has been showcased at a number of foundation functions.
"Bill Clinton also personally lobbied the Nobel Committee on behalf of Yunus, and in 2006 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."
According to reports, Yunus' companies donated $100,000 to $250,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative and $25,000 to $50,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
Upon Clinton's appointment as secretary of state, the Clinton-Yunus relationship deepened. Secretary Clinton's Department of State reportedly awarded more than $13 million in taxpayer funds to businesses aligned with Yunus.
This year on May 11, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina confirmed that Clinton called her office in March 2011 and demanded that Yunus be restored to his position of chairman of the Grameen Bank.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)