Dr Yunus granted bail in money laundering case

Dr Muhammad YunusFile photo

A court in Dhaka has granted bail to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.

Dhaka Metropolitan Special Judge Mohammad As-Shams Jaglul Hossain passed the bail order on Sunday. ACC’s public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol confirmed Prothom Alo.

Prior to this, Dr Yunus surrendered to the court and appealed for bail, which the ACC public prosecutor opposed. However, the court granted bail to Dr Yunus after hearing the both parties.

Earlier on 1 February, the ACC submitted charge sheets against Dr Yunus and 13 others in a case filed over embezzling a profit of Tk 252 million of Grameen Telecom employees.

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The other accused in the case are - Grameen Telecom Managing Director Nazmul Islam, Directors Ashraful Hassan, Naznin Sultana, Parvin Mahmud, M Shahjahan, Nurjahan Begum, and SM Huzzatul Islam Latifee, lawyers Yusuf Ali and Zafrul Hasan Sharif, Geameen Telecom Sramik-Karmachari Union President Md Kamruzzaman, General Secretary Firoz Mahmud Hasan and union representative Mainul Islam, and Jatiya Sramik Federation Office Secretary Kamrul Hasan.

Of the accused, Kamrul Hasan has been included to the list after investigation. All accused face arrest warrant except Dr Yunus and Parvin Mahmud who are on bail.

ACC deputy director Gulshan Anwar filed the case on 30 May 2023, alleging that the accused embezzled Tk 252.2 million. The illegal transfer of funds constitutes an offence under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.

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According to the ACC, the Grameen Telecom board, at a meeting on 9 May, 2022, decided to open a bank account to share profits with the employees. Its chairman Dr Yunus and managing director Nazmul Islam were present in the meeting. As per the decision, they opened the bank account in the Gulshan branch of Dhaka Bank on 8 May.

The ACC said an agreement was signed between the workers union and Grameen Telecom on 27 April of the year for disbursing dividends to the employees.

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The agreement mentioned that the account was opened on 8 May, which is impossible in reality. It was done by forging documents. 

The ACC said as per the agreement and the decision of the 108th board meeting of Grameen Telecom, an amount of Tk 4.37 billion was transferred from the Mirpur branch of United Commercial Bank to the Gulshan branch of Dhaka Bank on 10 May 2022. The dividends were embezzled without disbursing to the employees.

However, the lawyer of Dr Yunus, Abdullah Al Mamun told Prothom Alo on Monday that Grameen Telecom reached a negotiation with the employees when they went to court to demand dividends.

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As per the negotiation, the employees demanded an advance of Tk 250 million as the expenses of lawyers. The fund was for the purpose and employees provided written consent in this regard.

Abdullah Al Mamun also mentioned that the particular place of the contract was left blank as the employees were delaying in opening the bank account. Later, both parties filed bank account numbers. It was done through consents.

A total of 176 employees of Grameen Telecom filed more than 100 lawsuits seeking their dividends and took the issue to the High Court. Later, Grameen Telecom reached a negotiation with them.

According to the lawyers of Dr Yunus, Grameen Telecom employees withdrew the lawsuits in May 2022 after being paid through the settlement. Later, the ACC filed a case describing the payment as embezzlement.

Abdullah Al Mamun also said the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE), as per the government order, issued a letter to the ACC. But they cannot do it. As Dr Yunus raised voices in this regard, the ACC hurriedly submitted charge sheets against him. It humiliated him.

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Earlier on Sunday morning, Dr Yunus appeared before the Labour Appellate Tribunal in the capital’s Kakrail in the case filed by the DIFE and got a bail. Later, he appeared before the Dhaka metropolitan special judge court in the money laundering case and sought a bail.