The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has summoned Grameen Telecom Chairman and Nobel Laureate Dr Mohammad Yunus along with 12 others on 5 October for their alleged involvement in the misappropriation of more than Tk25 crore from the company's Workers Profit Participation Fund (WPPF).
According to ACC sources, the investigating officer of this case, ACC Deputy Director Gulshan Anwar Pradhan, sent this notice on 27 September.
The notice said, "You are requested to appear at the head office of the Anti-Corruption Commission on 5 October at 12:30pm to give a statement on the above matter and assist in the investigation."
Speaking to The Business Standard, Dr Yunus' lawyer Barrister Khawaja Tanveer Ahmed said Dr Yunus would be joined by some of the accused on 4 October, while the rest would join him the next day at the commission.
Apart from Grameen Telecom Chairman Dr Muhammad Yunus, the other defendants in the case are Managing Director Md Nazmul Islam, Director and former Managing Director Md Ashraful Hasan, Director Parveen Mahmud, Nazneen Sultana, Md Shahjahan, Noorjahan Begum and Director SM Hajjatul Islam Latifi.
While senior officials, including ACC investigation officers, denied the matter, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah told the media this afternoon that the investigating officer felt it was necessary to summon Dr Yunus and the others accused.
"It is up to him [Yunus] to come or not. It is not the commission's job to interrogate anyone."
The commission decides whether to file a case or not. Now, the investigating officer would call whomever he deems necessary, he added.
Responding to allegations of Dr Yunus being harassed over the case, he said, "A case has been registered in this regard. Why do you call it harassment?"
On the other hand, Deputy Director of the ACC Gulshan Anwar Pradhan said he had avoided the issue of summons under the guidance of higher authorities.
Besides, Advocate Md Yusuf Ali, Advocate Zafarul Hasan Sharif, Grameen Telecom labour union President Md Kamruzzaman, General Secretary Feroz Mahmud Hasan and representative Md Mainul Islam were accused.
Earlier on 30 May, the ACC filed a case against Dr Muhammad Yunus and 12 others for their alleged involvement in misappropriating the money.
According to the ACC, the case was filed after a preliminary investigation against the accused found "the allegations of embezzlement and money laundering was true." The case has been registered under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.
On 23 July 2022, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) sent a formal letter to ACC to investigate the allegations of embezzlement of workers' money against Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus.
According to the complaint, most of Grameen Telecom's transactions since 1996 have been suspicious. The organisation also requested an investigation into the money laundering complaints of workers given to the ILO.
The letter also said around Tk2,977 crore suspicious transactions have been made in the subsidiaries of Grameen Telecom so far, and the whole matter needs detailed investigation.
It further says the workers were supposed to be given certain shares, which Dr Yunus deprived them of.
According to the complaint, Grameen Telecom was supposed to give Tk45.52 crore to the Workers Welfare Foundation but did not give the money. The interest of the country has been disturbed here as well.
In a letter sent to the ACC, the DIFE also said that 110 cases were filed by the workers against Grameen Telecom and its Founder Dr Yunus, alleging they were deprived of their fair dues.
Recently, Dr Yunus returned to the limelight after paying Tk476 crore dues of 176 workers. The workers filed an application to withdraw the case.