Dr. Yunus won Nobel but forgot to pay taxes!
Ishtiaque Fardin is a journalist, columnist, and author.
Dr. Muhammad Yunus is an economist by profession but won the Nobel Peace Prize. Many wondered how an economist won the Nobel peace prize. Grabbing the Nobel laureate identity, he became a millionaire through his organization and guest lecturing. He had the opportunity to serve the poor people across the country with his name and fame. Yet he chose tax evasion, illegal transfer of donor funds, misuse of power, and violating foreign travel regulations. This is probably the first time any Nobel peace laureate has been proven guilty of breaking the laws.
Dr. Yunus, who was once applauded at home and abroad for his efforts to end poverty, has seen a significant decline in his reputation because of his controversial role in Bangladesh on several issues, ranging from influencing the World Bank to scrapping the Padma Bridge financing, tax evasion, violating labor rights, tarnishing the country’s image, and asking foreign friends to influence his interest. But this time he has set another example of stitch craft by hiding his tax details.
To begin with, Dr. Yunus was embroiled in controversy in 2015 as the National Board of Revenue (NBR) authorities summoned him for non-payment of tax amounting to 15 crores. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has dropped multiple complaints against his organization at various times. Now the Appellate Division dismissed Yunus’s leave to appeal against the National Board of Revenue’s judgment declaring the tax levied valid. As a result, he will have to pay 12 crores 28 lacks 74-thousand-taka tax imposed by NBR. On the other hand, the High Court has issued a ruling seeking to know why the order of framing of charges against Professor Yunus in the case of violation of labor law should not be canceled.
Nonetheless, the orders were passed by the Appellate Division and the concerned bench of the High Court. Due to the rejection of leave to appeal by the Appellate Division, Yunus has no other option but to give to charity. Earlier on June 21, leave to appeal was filed against the verdict of the High Court.
On the contrary, Dr. Yunus has mentioned in his Tax file that he received total remittances of Tk 97 crore 4 lacks 61 thousand 191 in the tax year 2005-06. But the amount of remittance received in his personal Southeast Bank account at that time was Tk 115 crore 98 lakh 96 thousand 24. This means that he concealed the information of receiving remittances of Tk 18 crore 94 lakh 34 thousand 835 in his tax file with the aim of tax evasion to the government. He hid huge amounts of remittances received in his own Southeast Bank account in various tax years. In every tax year since 2000, Dr. Muhammad Yunus evaded government taxes by concealing information worth crores of taka by receiving remittances from abroad.
In the 2011-2012 tax year, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) sent a notice demanding a tax of 12 crore 28 lakh 74 thousand against a total donation of 61 crore 57 lakh 69 thousand taka. In the tax year 2012-2013, against donation of 8 crore 15 lakh taka, 1 crore 60 lakh 21 thousand taka was claimed as donation tax. And in the 2013-2014 tax year, NBR issued a notice demanding a tax of 1 crore 50 lakh 21 thousand against the donation of 7 crore 65 thousand taka. Yunus filed a case in the Appellate Tribunal challenging the validity of these notices of NBR demanding tax against donations.
Moreover, his organization was the subject of numerous inquiries and accusations due to its allegedly shady organizational structure. There are also widespread allegations that Yunus had illegally transferred funds from foreign donors to different private organizations to serve his own interests. Besides, a stunning allegation has recently surfaced against Yunus that he unlawfully settled all the 110 cases filed against him by the Grameen Telecom union of workers and employees, with Tk 250 million. The Directorate of Factories and Institutions of Dhaka filed a case against four people including Yunus in 2021. Later, Yunus settled the matter by paying 400 crores for the debt owed to 176 workers.
In terms of alleged violation of labor laws., the High Court has issued a ruling seeking to know why the order of framing of charges against Muhammad Yunus should not be quashed. Justice Md. Yunus filed a preliminary hearing challenging the validity of the complaint. A bench comprising Ruhul Quddus and Ashish Ranjan Das passed the order. Barrister Abdullah Al Mamun and Barrister Khawaja Tanveer Ahmed were present at the hearing on behalf of Yunus. On the other hand, senior lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan stood for the Directorate of Inspection of Factories and Establishments. Attorney General Abu Mohammad (AM) Amin Uddin appeared for the state.
Earlier, on June 21, Nobel laureate economist Professor Muhammad Yunus appealed to the High Court challenging the validity of the complaint in the case of violation of the labor law. The court issued charges against four people including Muhammad Yunus. The trial in this case officially started with the formation of a complaint. The other three are the MD of Grameen Telecom Ashraful Hasan, Director Nurjahan Begum, and Shahjahan. They all hid the tax details under the banner of doing charity for poor people.
For this, Dr. Muhammad Yunus should be brought under the law and pay for his unlawful acts. A tax evader, a corrupt and fraudulent person bearing the title of Nobel laureate can never be a patriot. It is undeniable that Dr. Yunus is a great economist as he thought he could evade taxes. But the Supreme court found him guilty of this tax evasion last week, which refers to he is nothing more than a cheater. With this, all the activities of a so-called world elite and unpatriotic cheaters, a tax evader, and a corrupt person like Yunus should be considered as a violation of patriotism.