Yunus Centre Rejoinder on Allegations Regarding Padma Bridge, Tax Evasion and Illegal Money Transfer Abroad

16 February, 2017

In the last several days there have been strong accusations made against Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus by the top lawmakers of the country including the Honorable Prime Minister, her son, ICT Advisor to the PM, as well as a number of Ministers and Members of Parliament through posts on Facebook, on the floor of the Parliament, at press conference as well as in policy meetings, where he has been accused in harshest language and terms of being behind creating false allegations of corruption in the Padma Bridge project and the suspension of funds for Padma Bridge. Professor Yunus has never made any statement private or publicly to anyone about the possibility of corruption in the Padma Bridge project at any time. We condemn the false and baseless accusation against Professor Yunus. On the contrary, Professor Yunus made repeated statements beginning as early as in 2011 that he supports the Padma Bridge project, stating that it is the dream of millions of people of Bangladesh, and would never stand in the way of its realization. He has repeated this on many occasions including as recently as January 28, 2017 when Honorable Prime Minister accused him on the floor of the Parliament. We reiterate this one more time.

In addition to the accusations of Padma Bridge, several papers report quoting unnamed sources that NBR has imposed a fine on Tk 69 lacs on Professor Yunus. This is also an untrue statement. Professor Yunus does not have any outstanding tax claim or fine pending payment. We have repeated on a number of occasions that Professor Yunus pays all of his taxes fully and on due time. All relevant information regarding his earnings and taxes are in the possession of the NBR. He has within his lawful rights contested certain tax claims made recently which he felt were unjustified in a court of law. The matter is still with the court, and he will comply with whatever decision the court takes.

Another accusation has surfaced regarding the transfer of money abroad by Grameen Trust, an organization set up to support replication of microcredit methodology in other countries. The report states that "Grameen Trust has received donor funds from several donors including USAID and Netherlands, USA during 1996-97 to 2015-16 tax year and disbursed funds in 38 countries to support microfinance projects worth Tk 47 crore 35 lacs. The report claims that there is no information of central banks authorisation of the transfer in the income tax file.”

This may give the impression that Grameen Trust shifts donor money given to Bangladesh to other countries. This is not true. Donors provided this money to Grameen Trust for the exclusive purpose of using it in other countries to build micro credit programs in those countries. Every approval and disbursement of money to the projects in other countries has legal approval from the Foreign Currency Division of Bangladesh Bank, as well as all other relevant authorities. All these documents related to these transactions are preserved by Grameen Trust and have been audited on an annual basis by external auditors. All these information are always given in details in the Annual Audit Report of Grameen Trust and submitted to NBR along with Grameen Trust's Tax Return on a regular basis.

End

In Bangla

পদ্মা সেতু, কর ফাঁকি ও বিদেশে বেআইনীভাবে অর্থ প্রেরণ প্রসঙ্গে ইউনূস সেন্টারের প্রতিবাদ।

গত কয়েক দিন ধরে মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রী, তাঁর পুত্র প্রধানমন্ত্রীর তথ্য বিষয়ক উপদেষ্টা, কয়েকজন মন্ত্রী ও  বেশ কয়েকজন সাংসদ সহ দেশের শীর্ষ আইন প্রণেতারা ফেইসবুকে পোষ্ট দিয়ে, সংসদের ফ্লোরে দাঁড়িয়ে, সংবাদ সম্মেলন করে এবং বিভিন্ন নীতি-নির্ধারণী বৈঠকে পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পে দূর্নীতির মিথ্যা অভিযোগ সৃষ্টির নেপথ্যে থাকার জন্য নোবেল লরিয়েট  প্রফেসর মুহাম্মদ ইউনূসকে কঠোরভাবে অভিযুক্ত করে কটু ভাষায় বক্তৃতা-বিবৃতি দিয়ে আসছেন। প্রফেসর মুহাম্মদ ইউনূস পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পে দূর্নীতির সম্ভাবনা বিষয়ে প্রকাশ্যে বা ব্যক্তিগতভাবে  কখনো কারো কাছে কোন বিবৃতি দেননি। আমরা প্রফেসর ইউনূসের বিরুদ্ধে এই ভিত্তিহীন অভিযোগের তীব্র প্রতিবাদ জানাচ্ছি। অপরপক্ষে প্রফেসর ইউনূস ২০১১ সাল থেকে বহুবার এই মর্মে বলে এসেছেন যে, তিনি বরাবরই বাংলাদেশের কোটি কোটি মানুষের স্বপ্ন পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পের একজন সমর্থক এবং এই স্বপ্নের বাস্তবায়নে তাঁর বাধা হয়ে দাঁড়ানোর কোন প্রশ্নই আসেনা। সম্প্রতি জাতীয় সংসদের ফ্লোরে দাঁড়িয়ে মাননীয় প্রধানমন্ত্রী কর্তৃক এ বিষয়ে তাঁকে অভিযুক্ত করার পর গত ২৮ জানুয়ারী ২০১৭ তারিখে সহ বহুবার তিনি এ বিষয়ে তাঁর বক্তব্যের পুনরাবৃত্তি করেছেন। আমরা আবারো তার পুনরাবৃত্তি করছি।

পদ্মা সেতু সংক্রান্ত অভিযোগ ছাড়াও কয়েকটি পত্রিকা সুত্র উল্লেখ না করে এই মর্মে প্রতিবেদন প্রকাশ করেছে যে, জাতীয় রাজস্ব বোর্ড প্রফেসর ইউনূসের উপর ৬৯ লক্ষ টাকা জরিমানা ধার্য করেছে। এই তথ্যটিও সত্য নয়। প্রফেসর ইউনূসের কাছে জাতীয় রাজস্ব বোর্ডের কোন অনাদায়ী অর্থের দাবী নেই। আমরা বিভিন্ন সময়ে এ মর্মে জানিয়েছি যে, প্রফেসর ইউনূস তাঁর সকল কর পুরোপুরি ও সময়মতো পরিশোধ করে থাকেন। তাঁর আয় ও কর সংক্রান্ত সকল তথ্য জাতীয় রাজস্ব বোর্ডের কাছে আছে। তিনি তাঁর আইনগত অধিকার বলে সাম্প্রতিক কিছু কর দাবী সম্পর্কে, যা তাঁর নিকট অন্যায্য মনে হয়েছে, আদালতের স্মরণাপন্ন হয়েছেন। বিষয়টি এখনো আদালতে বিচারাধীন এবং এ বিষয়ে আদালতের যে-কোন সিদ্ধান্ত তিনি মেনে নেবেন।

আকস্মিকভাবে এবার আরেকটি অভিযোগ তোলা হয়েছে গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্ট কর্তৃক বিদেশে অর্থ প্রেরণ নিয়ে। গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্ট প্রতিষ্ঠা করা হয় অন্যান্য দেশে ক্ষুদ্রঋণ পদ্ধতি রেপ্লিকেশনে সহায়তা করার উদ্দেশ্যে। এই প্রতিবেদন অনুযায়ী, গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্ট ১৯৯৬-৯৭ ও ২০১৫-১৬ অর্থ বছরে ইউএসএআইডি ও নেদারল্যান্ডস সহ কয়েকটি সাহায্য সংস্থা থেকে ডোনার ফান্ড বাবদ প্রাপ্ত ৪৭ কোটি ৩৫ লক্ষ টাকা সমপরিমাণ অর্থ ৩৮টি দেশে বিভিন্ন ক্ষুদ্রঋণ প্রকল্পে সহায়তা বাবদ পাঠিয়েছে। প্রতিবেদনে দাবী করা হয়েছে যে, এই স্থানান্তরের বিষয়ে কেন্দ্রীয় ব্যাংকের অনুমোদন সংক্রান্ত কোন তথ্য আয়কর ফাইলে নেই।

এতে এই ধারণার সৃষ্টি হতে পারে যে, গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্ট বাংলাদেশকে দেয়া সহায়তার অর্থ বিদেশে স্থানান্তর করছে। বিষয়টি তা নয়। ডোনাররা গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্টকে এই অর্থ শুধুমাত্র ঐ সকল দেশে ক্ষুদ্রঋণ কর্মসূচি গড়ে তোলার উদ্দেশ্যেই পাঠিয়েছিলেন। বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের বৈদেশিক মুদ্রা বিভাগ এবং সংশ্লিষ্ট অন্য সকল কর্তৃপক্ষের নিকট থেকে ঐ দেশগুলোর ঐ সকল প্রকল্পে অর্থ প্রেরণের সকল আইনগত অনুমোদন এক্ষেত্রে গ্রহণ করা হয়েছে। এসব লেনদেন সংক্রান্ত সকল দলিল গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্টে সংরক্ষিত আছে এবং বহিঃনিরীক্ষগণ বাৎসরিক ভিত্তিতে এগুলো নিরীক্ষণও করেছেন। গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্টের বাৎসরিক নিরীক্ষা প্রতিবেদনে এসব তথ্য সব সময় দেয়া হয়েছে এবং এসব প্রতিবেদন গ্রামীণ ট্রাস্টের ট্যাক্স রিটার্নসের সাথে নিয়মিতভাবে জাতীয় রাজস্ব বোর্ডে জমা দেয়া হয়েছে।

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Rejoinder to the Statement made by Honorable Prime Minister against Professor Muhammad Yunus on the Floor with of the Parliament

Press Release (28 January, 2017)

Honorable Prime Minister during a speech in Parliament made a number of incorrect and untrue statements about Professor Muhammad Yunus on the floor of the parliament on 25 January, 2017.

Many of these accusations have been made before and Yunus Centre has responded every time. Most of these allegations were made over and over again since 2011. They have been thoroughly responded to on each occasion. All national newspapers printed these responses devoting exclusive full pages in August, 2012. Please see more at https://goo.gl/v6brng. We are sorry that we have to repeat our responses once again. We are again laying out the facts against every accusation made by Honorable Prime Minister.

Honorable Prime Minister claims: Yunus has lots of money but does not pay tax. He sues taxmen not to pay tax. He does not pay taxes on the huge amount he keeps in fixed deposits. We don't know the sources of his income. Where does all the big money come from?

Our Response:  The allegation of avoiding paying taxes is completely false. Professor Yunus always pays his taxes in full and without fail. He pays substantial amounts in taxes every year. Honorable Prime Minister has given false information to the nation from the floor of the Parliament. Professor Yunus never tried to avoid due taxes by making excuses. His tax files have been investigated repeatedly in order to find fault with them but every time it has come out clean.  According to newspaper reports all banks in the country were asked last month to give his and his wife's financial dealings with them. Nothing new came out of these bank reports either.

A Rejoinder to Claim of the Law Minister Regarding Professor Yunus and Clinton Foundation

Rejoinder (11 January, 2017)

A recent report published in Janakantha newspaper and a few other dailies on January 7, 2017 drew our attention.  According to those reports, the Law Minister of Bangladesh Mr Anisul Huq at a function recently stated that President-elect of the United States Mr Donald Trump will investigate Professor Muhammad Yunus’ contributions to Hillary Clinton’s election fund.  According to the report, the Minister claimed that Yunus donated money to Clinton Foundation before the US elections and later that money was spent for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He said that while this news was published in various international media, Professor Yunus did not give any explanation. He further stated that Professor Yunus had a dream to bring down the government by using his good offices with Hillary once she was  elected  US president. “Now that Trump is elected, he will look into the details of how much Yunus gave Hillary for election," he is quoted as saying in the report.
This is a very unfortunate statement from a responsible person, all the more  the Minister of Law, who is the top person to ensure application of law for all citizens, and protect citizens from misuse or abuse of law by anyone in the country. The accusation brought against Professor Yunus by the Minister about Professor Yunus' contribution to Hillary Clinton's campaign is blatantly false and baseless. He has never donated any money to Hillary Clinton's or anyone else's election fund either in Bangladesh or abroad.

Rejoinder to Honorable Prime Minister's Allegation against Professor Muhammad Yunus regarding Rampal Coal Plant Issue at World Economic Forum

Several local newspapers and other media outlets have carried comments allegedly made by Honorable Prime Minister on 21 January 2017 about the issue of Rampal Coal Plant being raised at the World Economic Forum. According to the media reports, Honorable Prime Minister said, “Yunus and company are responsible for bringing the Rampal issue to World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos by spending money." Several papers report that she has alleged that questions raised by former US Vice President Al Gore during a panel on the environment in which Hon Prime Minister also participated, were instigated by Professor Yunus.

The Associated Press (AP) corrects itself

(Please scroll down to find the Bangla version)

The Associated Press (AP) carried a report entitled "Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with Hillary at State" on 23 August, 2016 in the USA. The report wrongly stated that Professor Yunus donated to the Clinton Foundation in order to gain access to Hillary Clinton.  AP revised its report later saying that Professor Yunus did not donate to Clinton Foundation.

False Stories about Professor Yunus -- A Rejoinder

প্রফেসর ইউনূস সম্পর্কে প্রচারিত মিথ্যা সংবাদের প্রতিবাদ

A report published in web-based newspaper in the USA called The Daily Caller on April 17, 2016 was picked up in Bangladesh media on April 19 and April 20 and has created great deal of misunderstanding among  readers.

Caption of the story in its various versions follow the original caption "Disgraced Clinton Donor Got $ 13 million in State Department Grants Under Hillary" contributed most towards this misunderstanding by giving the impression that Professor Muhammad Yunus received this US government money personally, and that he got it because his powerful friend misused her official power to give this money to him. It also reported, completely falsely, that he donated money to her family foundation implying that was a reason he received funds from the State Department. The report also claims that Professor Yunus was ousted from Grameen Bank on corruption charges, which is completely false and an intentional smear.

Yunus Centre’s Response to News Reports about Comments Reportedly Made by Honorable Prime Minister about Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus

Several newspapers have reported that while addressing a programme at Shilpakala Academy held on January 16, honorable prime minister Shaikh Hasina had said, implying Professor Muhammad Yunus, that a former MD of a bank provoked high officials of the US government to threat the Bangladeshi PM to stop financing of Padma Bridge over his removal as Managing Director of the bank.

Rejoinder to Honorable Prime Ministers’ Comments on Professor Muhammad Yunus

To download the rejoinder in Bangla click here.

Recently, several daily newspapers have reported Honorable Prime Minister's alleged remarks about Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at a weekly cabinet meeting. .

According to the news published on Monday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while chairing the weekly cabinet meeting at the Cabinet Division reportedly said “Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is waiting for Hillary Clinton to become the next US President so that he gets her backing in ‘creating troubles’ for her government and conspiring against the government”.

Yunus Centre protests baseless news on Professor Muhammad Yunus’s “participation” in a BNP demonstration There are some reports in the press that Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has "participated" in a BNP demonstration in New York. This is co

There are some reports in the press that Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has "participated" in a BNP demonstration in New York. This is completely baseless.

Professor Yunus was walking on sept 27 on the New York streets near UN to go from one meeting to the next. On the way he passed through a crowd who were demonstrating. He continued his walk to reach his destination where an audience was waiting for him to hear him speak.

Yunus Centre’s Response to News Reports about Comments Reportedly Made by Honorable Prime Minister about Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus

Several daily newspapers have reported  Honorable Prime Minister's alleged remarks about  Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus on 5 May, 2015 at the meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council.  

We have been shocked by the alleged comments, since they are both incorrect and misleading. We hope that the Honorable PM did not actually make these comments, but we are responding to each of the quotes attributed to her, since they have been published widely.

PROFESSOR YUNUS CONDEMNS GOVERNMENT ACTION IN CHANGING GRAMEEN BANK LAW

button bangla

 

I condemn the action of the Government of Bangladesh in changing the Grameen Bank law in the strongest language possible.

Muhammad-YunusGrameen Bank was created as a bank owned by poor women, and managed by  poor women. Its legal structure did not allow any government interference of any kind, except for regulatory oversight. The amendments to the law which have just been introduced, have created the opportunity for the government to take 100 percent control of the bank if they wish to. These amendments  fundamentally change the character of the bank. With these amendments, the government has opened the door for its ultimate destruction. What a shame for the nation, and the whole world!

I feel extremely sorry that the nation has to go through the unnecessary traumatic experience of seeing a great global iconic institution, created by this nation, be brutally harmed by a group of irresponsible and thoughtless people. The immediate task before the country is to repair the enormous damage done to the Grameen Bank law at the earliest opportunity, before it is too late. I hope  the whole nation, particularly all women, along with the women of Grameen Bank,  their family  members, as well as the staff of the bank will rise to the occasion and make it happen.

Muhammad Yunus
Nov 6, 2013

Yunus Centre response to the various articles published in daily newspapers with the headline “The government will take action against Dr. Yunus’

fr018-tdsOn 9 September  2013 various national dailies and online news media  published reports stating that it was decided at a government cabinet meeting that legal action would be taken against Dr. Muhammad Yunus for issues relating to his foreign earnings and for alleged tax evasion.

The NBR has not stated that the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has ‘evaded’ tax. It mentions that he asked for an income-tax exemption,  which the NBR in turn had granted him under the provision of the existing laws. There was therefore no legal violation in this regard.

Rejoinder to Honorable Prime Ministers’ Comments on Professor Muhammad Yunus

hasina-yunusSeveral newspapers have reported that Honorable Prime Minister made some comments about Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus on July 11, 2013 during a high level meeting at Ganabhaban with the leadership of her Party, Members of Parliament, and  Ministers. Honorable Prime Minister raised a number of complaints about Professor Muhammad Yunus. The complaints are completely false.

The people of the country have been shocked by the comments of Honorable Prime Minister. We had hoped that the Prime Minister would have disowned the reports in the newspapers, and say that she did not say anything of this kind. But five days have passed, and she has not disowned these reports.  We are therefore compelled to give our rejoinder.

There are important implications of Honorable Prime Minister’s comments for the country and personally for Professor Yunus which create wrong impressions about him in the minds of  people. We are protesting these comments for this reason.

Please find below responses to the Prime Minister’s Allegations from Yunus Centre:

Questions by critics on Grameen Bank and the facts

Questions by critics on Grameen Bank and the facts

Recently many questions on various issues have been raised regarding Grameen Bank, Grameen companies and Professor Muhammad Yunus in different forums and media. Perhaps because they are not informed of the facts, many are engaging in severe criticism based on fabricated information. The people of the country are being confused by this.

To inform the public we have compiled here the questions of the critics and are sharing the facts on Grameen Bank, Grameen companies, and Professor Yunus in response to those questions. We hope that these information will be able to clarify the confusion and make the discussion more factual.

It is natural that there will be discussions and varied opinions on Grameen Bank, Grameen companies and Professor Yunus. The discussions will be fruitful if sufficient care is taken to ensure that the opinions are not based on false or distorted information.

The information and facts presented herein are collected from previously published materials and documents on Grameen Bank. Various government regulatory authorities also have these information. More detailed information can be collected from those sources. If needed, Yunus Centre may also be contacted.
 

Sincerely,

Yunus Centre, 16th  Floor,
Grameen Bank Complex, Mirpur 2, Dhaka- 1216
Phone: (880) 2 8015755

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