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2 Grameen Telecom CBA leaders held over fraud charge

Published : 06 Jul 2022 11:32 PM

Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested the president and the general secretary of Grameen Telecom Workers’ Union over allegations of fraud and embezzlement.

DB nabbed president of the union Kamruzzaman, 37, and general secretary Firoz Mahmud Hasan, 42, early Wednesday from Segunbagicha area in the capital Dhaka.

SM Rezaul Haque Reza, Detective Branch additional deputy commissioner for Gulshan Division confirmed the arrests.

Nobel laureate professor Muhammad Yunus owns the firm Grameen Telecom.

Earlier a case was filed against them with Mirpur police station.

The union's finance secretary Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman filed the case on Monday.

The top Central Bargaining Agent (CBA) leaders were produced before the court that granted seven- day remand for each of them.

The president and the general secretary along with some telecom CBA leaders, and lawyers representing Grameen Telecom breached the trust of workers who have recently withdrawn all the cases filed against the telcom company following an assurance of payment of their arrears and salaries, said the case statement.

Kamruzzaman, Firoz and union vice-president Mainul Hasan had embezzled Tk 9 crore after withdrawing the amount from the union’s bank account.

Detective Branch said that during interrogations the arrestees told them that rumour was spread among the Grameen Telecom staff that Bangladesh soon would face situation like that of Sri Lanka and Muhammad Yunus would be the prime minister.

The workers and employees of Grameen Telecom started their legal battle in 2016, alleging that the company had violated the Bangladesh Labour Act by not sharing with its employees the profit it made since 2006 and not paying them other dues.

The 176 cases, six of which were filed with the High Court, were lodged against Yunus and other senior officials of Grameen Telecom.

According to the labour law, the companies require to share 5 per cent of their profit with their workers.

Besides, without any discussion with the union, the Grameen Telecom authorities laid off 99 employees through a notice in 2020.

As many as 176 workers who were dismissed from Grameen Telecom appealed to the High Court against the company's liquidation as the company was not paying their dues of Tk 437 crore.

Later, the Grameen Telecom authorities negotiated with the workers through lawyers.

Lawyer Yousuf Ali got Tk 12 crore as fees for the settlement of the dispute of Tk 437 crore as claimed by 176 employees sacked by Grameen Telecom.

Earlier on May 23, the company bench dismissed the employees’ petition after they had prayed for not proceeding with their case following payment of the outstanding dues as per the ‘amicable settlement’ between them.