Charge sheet submitted against Dr Yunus, 13 others in money laundering case

Dr Muhammad YunusFile photo

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has submitted charge sheets against Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus and 13 others in a case filed over embezzling a profit of Tk 252 million of Grameen Telecom employees. 

Gulshan Anwar, deputy director of the ACC and investigating officer of the case, submitted the charge sheets to the court on Thursday, said Aminul Islam, assistant director of ACC (prosecution). 

Earlier, the commission approved the charge sheets on 29 January.

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, Sramik-Karmachari Union President Kamruzzaman, General Secretary Firoz Mahmud Hasan and representative Mainul Islam, Jatiya Sramik Federation Office Secretary Kamrul Hasan, and lawyers Zafrul Hasan Sharif and Yusuf Ali.

Among them, Kamrul Hasan has been included to the list after investigation. According to court sources, only Parvin Mahmud is on bail in the case, while the remaining accused, including Dr Yunus, are not on bail.

The ACC urged the court to issue arrest warrants against the accused with no bail. Aminul Islam told Prothom that the ACC submitted charge sheets on Thursday and is supposed to present documents within the day.

Gulshan Anwar filed the case on 30 May last year, alleging that Dr Muhammad Yunus and the other accused embezzled Tk 252 million in total. The illegal transfer of funds constitutes an offence under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.

Earlier, ACC secretary Mahbub Hossain said they received a report on allegations against the board of directors of Grameen Telecom from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments. The ACC found the allegations authentic in investigation and filed a case.

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.

The agreement mentioned that the account was opened on 8 May, which is impossible in reality. It was made possible through unfair means.

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, said the ACC secretary.

He also said 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.

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 lawyer, 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, 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.

The labour court has sentenced Dr Yunus and three others to six months in prison in a case filed by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments.