National, Front Page

Dr Yunus found guilty of tax evasion

HC orders him to pay over Tk 12cr tax

Published : 31 May 2023 09:17 PM

The High Court (HC) has found Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus guilty of tax evasion in cases filed in connection with evading taxes during the years 2011 to 2013.

The higher court asked his to pay over Tk 12 crore as donation tax to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) 

The HC bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir issued the order on Wednesday (May 31) after rejecting the petition of Dr Yunus challenging the notices of NBR.

The court said that Dr Yunus’s tax evasion charges have been proved in three cases.

Barrister Mostafizur Rahman argued for Dr Yunus in the court, while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin represented the state.

On May 23, Dr Yunus filed a petition challenging the notice issued by the NBR claiming tax Tk. 15 crore on donation. The HC had fixed May 31 for hearing the petition.

According to the case statement, Dr Yunus gave Tk. 76.73 crore to three trusts – Professor Muhammad Yunus Trust, Yunus Family Trust and Yunus Centre – in the tax years 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, 

In line with the Gift Tax Act, 1990, the NBR sent three notices to Dr Yunus demanding Tk. 12,28,74,000 in taxes against a total donation of Tk. 61,57,69,000 in the tax year 2011-2012

In the tax year 2012-2013, the NBR demanded Tk. 1,60,74,000 against a donation of Tk. 8.15lakh. 

Then in the tax year 2013-2014, the NBR issued a notice demanding Tk. 1,50,21,000 in taxes against a donation of Tk7,00,65,000.

Later, Dr Yunus filed a case with the Tax Appellate Tribunal challenging the imposition of taxes on the donated money. 

Dr Yunus claimed in the case that according to the law, the NBR cannot demand taxes on donations.

Then on November 20 in 2014, the tribunal rejected his application. Later in 2015, he filed three writ petitions with the High Court. 

After hearing the applications, the High Court on April 2 in 2015 stayed the operation of the government notifications issued for realizing the demanded taxes.

After the final hearing of that rule, May 31 was fixed for the verdict.

The embezzlement of crores of taka by Dr Yunus from the non-profit venture and laundering of the fund abroad in a unique way in the name of running social business is being criticized by people of many sectors.

 The public fund embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering are punishable offences under the anti-graft law and the penal code.

In 1997, Dr Yunus obtained a licence to establish Grameen Telecom. While taking the licence, he promised to work for the welfare of poor people. He had promised that his company would change the fate of the common folk.

After obtaining the licence, he got involved in making his own fortune being oblivious to his commitment, public welfare and interest of the country. He handed over major shares of the company to the foreign firm.

As the Grameen Telecom runs by a trust, there is no option to take all the profits. Besides, the non-profit company formed under Section 28 of the Companies Act has no share capital, and no individual ownership. The law prohibits the transfer of dividends to any individual or organisation. But Dr Yunus laundered crore of money abroad illegally.

In 26 years of operation, Grameen Telecom has evaded huge tax. To hush the matter of tax evasion, Dr Yunus filed several cases and writ petitions with various courts. It has been proved beyond doubt during investigation by the authorities concerned that Dr Yunus evaded tax.