Yunus secures bail in Grameen Telecom welfare fund embezzlement case

The case charges him with embezzling Tk 250 million from the welfare fund of the employees of Grameen Telecom

Published : 3 March 2024, 11:15 AM
Updated : 3 March 2024, 11:15 AM

After securing a bail extension in a case of labour law violations, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has obtained bail in the case of embezzling money from the welfare fund of the workers of Grameen Telecom.

On Sunday, he surrendered to the court of Judge As Sams Jaglul Hossain of the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court and applied for bail, which was granted by the judge after the hearing.

Alongside Yunus, the judge also granted bail to seven other accused in the case. They are—Grameen Telecom's Director Parveen Mahmud, Managing Director Md Nazmul Islam, Director and former managing director Md Ashraful Hassan; Nazneen Sultana, Md Shahjahan, Noorjahan Begum, and director SM Hazzatul Islam Latifi.

Advocate Abdullah Al Mamun argued at the bail hearing for Yunus and others, while lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol represented the Anti-Corruption Commission.

During the hearing, Yunus' attorney argued that Grameen Telecom had resolved its issues with the workers, referring to a Tk 4.37 billion payment made to them as part of a settlement.

The payment was made in accordance with a High Court order and was executed through a contractual agreement, he said.

However, Kajol challenged the argument, saying that the case in question was not about the Tk 4.37 billion settlement.

"The charges relate to the embezzlement of Tk 260 million and money laundering. The accused gave the money to trade union leaders instead of the workers, thereby depriving the ordinary workers of their rightful earnings."

After considering the arguments presented by both parties, the judge decided to grant bail to Yunus and seven others implicated in the case.

The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case against Yunus and the other Grameen Telecom executives, accusing them of misappropriating over Tk 250 million from the workers' welfare fund.

The lawsuit followed an audit report by the Directorate of Factories and Establishments in early 2023, which prompted the ACC to conduct an investigation.

On May 30, 2023, ACC Deputy Director Gulshan Anwar Pradhan initiated a case against Yunus and 12 other individuals after the investigation found substance in the allegations.

The ACC subsequently added two more names to its chargesheet following a seven-month probe.

The chargesheet was filed in court on Feb 1. The judge then scheduled a hearing for Mar 3 to review the charges in the presence of the accused.