Tuesday, 21 March, 2023

Grameen Telecom: HC questions why Bar Council shall not probe lawyer’s fees

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 7th July, 2022 10:35:06 PM
  • Print news

The High Court issued a rule asking the Bar Council to explain why it will not investigate excessive fees and the role of the lawyer of terminated employees of Grameen Telecom in withdrawing a petition seeking liquidation of the company.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Khizir Ahmed Choudhury and Justice Md Zakir Hossain passed the order on Thursday.

The ruling came after Bangladesh Bank froze Md Yousuf Ali's six bank accounts as counsel for terminated Grameen Telecom employees.

Barrister Ashraful Islam, a lawyer of the Supreme Court, filed a writ petition on Wednesday seeking the HC directive to investigate the alleged dubious role of the lawyer Md Yousuf Ali.

Although Md Yousuf Ali was a lawyer for Grameen Telecom, he appeared for terminated employees in a petition against the company for committing professional misconduct and violating the Bar Council Order 1972, the petitioner contended.

The Bar Council will have to respond to the rule within four weeks.

In November 2021, 176 terminated workers filed a petition with the High Court seeking liquidation of Grameen Telecom for non-payment of their dues worth Tk 4.37 billion.

On April 4, this year, the HC accepted the petition. Suddenly, on May 23, the petitioners filed another application to withdraw the liquidation petition on the ground of conciliation with the company authorities. The court accepted the withdrawal petition.

At this stage, the HC bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarker asked for contract papers and payment documents.

The court believed that employees might have been forced to compromise with the help of their lawyer. The court doubted underhand dealings.

The HC stated that it will not tolerate anyone abusing the legal system by committing irregularities.

The HC asked the lawyer to show documents of his fees and the compensation terminated workers obtained from the company by August 2.

Talking to the Daily Sun, Md Yousuf Ali said, "I was never a lawyer for Grameen Telecom. So, the allegation of the writ petitioner is unfounded. "

About Tk 12 crore fees, he said there is no limit of fees of lawyers fixed by the government or Bar Council.