The tax dodged by Grameen Telecom, one of the companies of Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, amounts to Tk 1,000 crore alone.
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 have already hit headlines.
It has also come to light how he lobbied a firm to win a legal battle against his employees by offering bribes to judges and other important persons of the country. He allegedly entered into a detestable deal with the firm to confirm his victory.
The public fund embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering are punishable offences under the anti-graft law and the penal code.
Sources claimed to have adequate evidence to substantiate the crimes committed by Dr Yunus.
The officials concerned are stunned by the gravity of offences, volume of tax evasion and the novel intrigue applied by him.
In 1997, Dr Yunus obtained a licence from the Awami League government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to establish Grameen Telecom i.e. Grameenphone. While taking the licence, he promised to work for the welfare of poor people. He had told the prime minister 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.
According to sources, Grameen Telecom is the owner of 34.20 percent shares of Grameenphone through which it gets dividends to the tune of Tk 1,000 annually.
As the company 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 Tk 1,000 crore abroad every year illegally and thus embezzled those.
Around 42.6 percent of the profits have been transferred from Grameenphone to Grameen Kalyan in violation of sections 28 and 29 of the Companies Act, 1994 even though Grameen Kalyan is not a shareholder of Grameenphone.
As per the law, the entire profits of Grameen Telecom have o be recorded as its income and taxed accordingly at the applicable corporate rate for the relevant financial year. A review of audited account shows that Dr Yunus gave almost half of the profits of Grameen Telecom to Grameen Kalyan paying a 10-20 percent advance income tax (AIT) instead of 35-37.5 percent.
The difference in the corporate rate and dividend tax is the tax evasion as Grameen Kalyan is not entitled to the profits of Grameen Telecom in any way as per the existing law.
If all the taxes that Grameen Telecom evaded since its inception are taken into account, the amount will be around Tk 1,000 crore. If other companies of Dr Yunus are added, the figure will be a huge one.
In 26 years of operation, Grameen Telecom has evaded nearly Tk 1,000 crore tax. On average, Dr Yunus has been dodging 15-25 percent tax annually. From 1997 to 2005, he dodged 25 percent tax of Grameen Telecom annually. The actual tax was 35 percent but he paid only 10 percent. From 2006 to 2008, he evaded 20 percent tax of telecom annually, paying 15 percent tax instead of 35 percent. Besides, he paid 20 percent instead of 35 percent tax dodging 15 percent per annum from 2009 to 2022, sources claimed.
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.