A total of six bank accounts of lawyer Yousuf Ali, a counsel of the ‘Grameen Telecom union of workers and employees’, and his chamber have been frozen after an allegation that the lawyer has received more than Tk 120 million as fee from his clients in a single case filed against Grameen Telecom, an organisation owned by Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.
In a press briefing held in the Supreme Court premises the lawyer said, “I came to know that all of my bank accounts have been frozen. I have three personal accounts. Two are my partner's accounts and one is my chamber's account. All the six accounts have been frozen. I had about Tk 22.5 million in my chamber's account.”
“Tk 120 million is an imaginary figure. My clients have got a huge amount of money from the Grameen Telecom in an out of court settlement and I also got a big amount fees from them,” added the lawyer.
He said he had at least 100 clients who got more than Tk 30 million. As per condition all those 100 clients have paid him more than Tk 1.5 to 2.0 million as his fee. All the fees he received from them through account payee cheques, added the lawyer.
All the cases filed by ‘Grameen Telecom union of workers and employees’ against Professor Muhammad Yunus and his organization Grameen Telecom had been withdrawn from different courts after the parties reached in a out of court settlement over the claim of the employees.
On the same ground the company bench of the High Court division of the Supreme Court on May 23 passed order dismissing a petition filed by the employees seeking liquidation of Grameen Telecom.
More than 110 cases were filed against Professor Muhammad Yunus and his organization Grameen Telecom by the employees over their claim, said Barrister Mustafizur who appeared in the High Court hearing on behalf of the Grameen Telecom.
During the hearing of the case on June 30 this year the High Court bench of Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar said, “We have heard that the employees' lawyer was biased in exchange of money and the employees were forced to settle the case through compromise.”
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 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 fee at Tk 120 million in a case, the court also said expressing its wonder.
The court then directed the parties to submit a joint statement regarding the due payments of the employees and a list on how much each of them has been paid. At the same time, documents related to this have also been sought to be submitted.
The court asked the parties to submit the relevant documents of the dealings in the court before August 2 in 2022.
Then the lawyers of the parties informed the court that they have reached in an out of court settlement with an amount of Tk 4.37 billion. A total of Tk 3.8 billion has already been paid to the 168 out of 176 Grameen Telecom employees.
The payment of the remaining eight employees is being delayed due to legal complications, since four of the employees died already and four others are abroad.
Yousuf earlier said, “The workers and the employees of the company are entitled to get 5 percent of the net profit of the Grameen Telecom as per the rule. They will get it since 2006. But the company was not giving the dues to the employees. In this circumstance they moved the Labour Court and the High Court.”