Charges Framed Against Dr. Yunus in Money Laundering Case

Nobel Laureate economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Laureate economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus

Dhaka, June 12, 2024 - A Dhaka court has formally framed charges against Nobel Laureate economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus and 13 other individuals in a high-profile money laundering case. The Special Judge Court -4 in Dhaka issued the order on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the trial process for Dr. Yunus and the co-accused.

Background and Accusations

The case, initiated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on May 30, 2023, alleges the embezzlement of Tk 252.2 million from Grameen Telecom employees' profits. The ACC's investigation led to a charge sheet against 14 individuals, including Dr. Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and renowned microfinance pioneer.

The accused include

  1. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Chairman of Grameen Telecom
  2. Nazmul Islam, Managing Director of Grameen Telecom
  3. Ashraful Hasan, Director and former Managing Director
  4. Parveen Mahmud, Director
  5. Nazneen Sultana, Director
  6. Md Shahjahan, Director
  7. Nurjahan Begum, Director
  8. SM Hajjatul Islam Latifi, Director
  9. Md Yusuf Ali, Lawyer
  10. Zafrul Hasan Sharif, Lawyer
  11. Kamruzzaman, President of Grameen Telecom Workers Union
  12. Feroz Mahmud Hasan, General Secretary of Grameen Telecom Workers Union
  13. Mainul Islam, Labour Union Representative
  14. Kamrul Hasan, Secretary of the National Labour Federation

Case Details

The ACC claims the embezzlement occurred following a decision by the Grameen Telecom board on May 9, 2022, to open a bank account for profit-sharing with employees. An agreement between the workers' union and Grameen Telecom was allegedly forged, leading to the illegal transfer of Tk 4.37 billion from United Commercial Bank's Mirpur branch to Dhaka Bank's Gulshan branch.

Defense and Rebuttal

Dr. Yunus and the other accused have pleaded not guilty, asserting their innocence and seeking justice. Abdullah Al Mamun, Dr. Yunus's lawyer, argued that the funds in question were used for legal expenses as part of a negotiated settlement with the employees, who had filed over 100 lawsuits demanding their dividends. The employees, according to the defense, provided written consent for this arrangement.

The defense further contends that the place of the contract was left blank due to delays in opening the bank account, and the details were filled in later with mutual consent.

Previous Legal Challenges

Dr. Yunus has faced other legal challenges. On January 1, 2024, a Dhaka labor court sentenced him and three others to six months' imprisonment in a separate case filed by the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE). This verdict is currently under appeal.

Next Steps

The court has set July 15, 2024, for recording witness depositions. This date will be crucial in determining the course of the trial and the eventual outcome of the case.

The framing of charges against Dr. Yunus, a globally recognized figure for his contributions to poverty alleviation through microcredit, marks a significant moment in Bangladesh's judicial history. The trial will be closely monitored both domestically and internationally, given Dr. Yunus's stature and the serious nature of the allegations.

   


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