Govt not a party in Professor Yunus case: Hasan Mahmud

Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said the court has convicted Grameen Bank founder Dr Muhammad Yunus and later he was granted bail for filing appeal.

 Some people are trying to spread confusion over the issue and they are trying to make role of the government questionable, he said, reports BSS.

Hasan Mahmud said.”The government is not a party here and it didn’t file the case. The workers of Grameen Telecom sued Dr Yunus as he didn’t pay dues of the workers. And he was convicted in that case.”

 The minister told reporters while replying to a query at YNT centre in city’s Dewanji Pukur Lane in Chattogram.

Dr Hasan Mahmud, who is also the Awami League Joint General Secretary, said the Grameen Telecom has a legal obligation of distributing five percent of its profits to its employees, which was never been paid.

“For this, the workers have filed a case under Sections 4, 7, 8, 117 and 234 of the Labor Act. Grameen Telecom tried to manage two labour leaders by giving bribe of Tk 6 crore, but failed.

Dr Hasan said there have allegations that the Grameen Telecom is violating norms, evading taxes, misappropriating its employees’ welfare funds and misappropriating Tk 3,000 crore from different affiliated organizations for more than a decade.

 The minister said according to the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983, the MD of Grameen Bank was to be appointed by government. And according to the amendment of 1990, the responsibility of appointing the MD was transferred to the Board of Directors of Grameen Bank subject to the prior approval of Bangladesh Bank.He said the chairman of the board of directors had requested the approval of Bangladesh Bank to appoint Dr Yunus as MD on August 14 in 1990.

 The information minister said Bangladesh Bank gave no objection to the appointment of Dr Yunus subject to conditions. And the conditions are – (1) ‘The terms and conditions of employment of the MD shall be governed by the provisions of Section 4 of the Grameen Bank Ordinance 14 of 1983. (2) The Board of Directors will make rules under section 36 of the ordinance, which will come into effect after publication in the official gazette. (3) As per government service rules, an MD cannot cross the age limit of 60 years.  But the board of directors of Grammen Bank at its  52nd meeting in July 1999 adopted a resolution extending Muhammad Yunus’s service as the MD for unlimited period, when he was 59.

“It was clear violation of Section 4 of Article 14 of the Grameen Bank Ordinance,” the minister said adding that “the ulterior motive of his appointment was later proved.”

 He said according to Section 21 and 12 of the Bangladesh Penal Code, the MD of Grameen Bank is considered a public servant. Dr Yunus violated the terms and conditions of his employment as a public servant.

Dr Hasan Mahmud said that a full-time government employee Dr Yunus frequent remained absent from work without any government approval. Money from Grameen Bank has been transferred or capitalized to many institutions associated with his family’s interests.

“Many Nobel laureates of the world were convicted of criminal and civil offences and many of them have been served in jail for long,” Dr Hasan said.

 He said there is no scope of spreading confusion about the court order against Dr Yunus. The court in Bangladesh has worked independently, he said.

 He said, “David Bergman has written an article about Bangladesh’s politics and elections. He is Dr Kamal Hossain’s son-in-law and he is a Jew.

“Jews are committing crimes against humanity in Palestine. You can ask David Bergman what’s his opinion about it. If he had written an article on this, we would have known his position,”Hasan Mahmud told journalists.

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