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Probe whether money of Grameen Telecom laundered: HC

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 5 August, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The High Court (HC) has directed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and law enforcement agencies to investigate whether Grameen Telecom’s money has been laundered elsewhere.

According to the court, the ACC can also question the lawyer if necessary. Apart from this, the High Court has also ordered an investigation into whether the cases of the workers have been dismissed with money.

The HC bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar passed this order on Thursday.

During the hearing, Additional Attorney General Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury representing the state said Professor Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Telecom gave money to the workers to cover up the corruption of Grameen Telecom. Along with that, Dr Yunus hired a lobbyist to win the Grameen Telecom case.

The state side told the court that Tk 3,980 crore was smuggled from Grameen Telecom.

If action is not taken in this regard, the corrupt will be indulged, the state side added.

Lawyer Ahsanul Karim, who is representing lawyer Md Yusuf Ali, has told the court about the details of Tk 16 crore he took for the case fee. He said the money was given to the trade union as per the rules.

He told the court, if necessary, the ACC can question Yusuf Ali, the lawyer, about taking a fee of Tk 16 crore.

Meanwhile, the court on August 2 this year asked ‘Grameen Telecom Sramik Karmachari Union’s lawyer Md Yusuf Ali to submit details of taking a huge amount of fees from his clients.

Earlier on June 30, the same HC bench directed the parties to submit a statement jointly regarding the due payments of the employees of Grameen Telecom.

The court at the same time asked the parties to submit the relevant documents of the dealings in the court before August 2, 2022.

An allegation was also raised at that time that the case filed against Grameen Telecom was settled through compromise in exchange of giving Tk 12 crore to the petitioners’ lawyer, Yusuf Ali. The High Court also said, “There should not be any irregularity by using the court. If everything is not in accordance with the law, the matter will be taken seriously. I don’t want to see the raising of any question about the integrity of the court and the lawyer.”

There is no lawyer not only in Bangladesh but also in this subcontinent, who can take a fee of Tk 12 crore in a case, the court also said expressing its wonder.

Complying with the court order, both the parties of the Grameen Telecom case submitted details of the out-of-court settlement that took place between the organisation and its former employees. 

However, at one stage of the hearing, the court asked the lawyer how much fees he received from his clients. Then advocates told the court that lawyer Yousuf Ali received a total of Tk 26 crore from his clients. Among the money, Tk 16 crore is lawyer’s fees and Tk 10 crore is other charges.

The court then asked the lawyers of Yousuf Ali to give an affidavit within August 4, clarifying why other fees are Tk 10 crore.

The lawyers of the parties informed the court that they have reached an out-of-court settlement with an amount of Tk 437 crore.

Yusuf Ali on behalf of ‘Grameen Telecom Sramik Karmachari Union’ appeared in 213 cases in different courts against Professor Yunus and his organisation Grameen Telecom before the parties reached an out-of-court settlement over the claim of the employees, according to the affidavit submitted to the HC.