Saturday, November 25, 2017

We deprived another person to give Grameenphone licence to Yunus wrongly: Nasim

  • Parliament Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-03-09 00:42:05 BdST


Muhammad Yunus was given Grameenphone licence by 'depriving' another person in 1996, the then telecoms minister Mohammed Nasim has said.

But the Nobel laureate 'betrayed' after getting the licence, the Awami League leader alleges.

"I am admitting in this Parliament that we did it wrong. We deprived a person the licence and gave it to Mr Yunus," he said without naming the deprived person.

"He sold that licence to win the Nobel Prize. He betrayed after getting the licence," the minister said.

According to him, three of the four applicants were capable of winning the permit. He did not name the other applicants.

Bangladesh's largest mobile-phone operator started its journey as a private limited company on Oct 10, 1996, when the Awami League was in power. It turned into a public limited company in 2007.

Grameen Telecom, established by Muhammad Yunus, owns the second highest share, which is 34.2 percent, of Grameenphone. Yunus is the chairman of Grameen Telecom, a non-profit organisation.

Nasim, who is the health minister now, told Parliament on Wednesday: "The prime minister ordered to give that person (Yunus) the mobile-phone licence.”

Bringing the allegation again against Yunus of 'conspiring to halt World Bank fund for Padma Bridge' Nasim said, "We gave him railways optical fibre for free. And he set up Grameenphone connections with those. We didn't know there was so much conspiracy in it."

Awami League leaders allege that Yunus played a role in halting the World Bank fund on charges of corruption in the Padma Bridge project. The matter is being discussed again after a Canadian court cleared executives of corruption charges related to the project.

In this connection, Nasim said, "He (Yunus) proved in front of the entire world that Bangladesh is corrupted. But it is proved today that they are liars.”

“It could be possible because of the honesty of Awami League chief Prime Minister Sheikh. She has proved it by starting the Padma Bridge work."

He was speaking on the thanksgiving motion on the president's address to Parliament.

The Awami League presidium member also said the next parliamentary election would be held under the rule of Hasina.

"They (BNP) wish to give a poll-time government formula. But why? You gave this before the 2014 elections, and Sheikh Hasina called you. You did not respond. If we listen to you now, what will we tell those who shed blood in 2014?" he asked.

Referring to the BNP's threat to stay away from the election if its chief Khaleda Zia is jailed on graft charges, Nasim said, "You've said that you will not allow any election under Sheikh Hasina even the doomsday comes.”

We don't want to say this and may Allah don't wish that you remain in jail until the doomsday," he added.