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  <%-- Page Title--%> Issue No 101 <%-- End Page Title--%>  

July 20, 2003 

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Your Advocate

This week your advocate is M. Moazzam Husain of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. His professional interests include civil law, criminal law and constitutional law. Send your queries to the Law Desk, The Daily Star. A panel of lawyers
will address your problems.

Q: In early 2001 I got myself involved in a computer related business in Dhaka with a Bangladeshi partner who was known to me for several years. My partner ran the business from February 2001 to December 2001 along with few other staff. My partner acted as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and I acted as the Chairman and gave remote support via e-mails and phone. We made a partnership business deed. In this business we had equal investment and we agreed to share the net profit on an equal basis. As per our written agreement the CEO reported to me on business status and sent profit & loss statements via e-mails during the first one year and all his reports showed an all-time monthly profit. At the end of the year (2001) my partner suddenly notified me that due to an 'unavoidable personal circumstance' he had to close the business and also had to withdraw all invested money including my profit share. According to our agreed-upon written policies no parties should be able to take out any amount of invested money within the first two years of business and also CEO was supposed to notify the Chairman in advance if he was going to make a major decision like the closure of business operations or even dismissing a staff from office. Unfortunately my partner did not care at all and acted as per his own wishes and well being. In January 2002 we made a new deed in which he agreed that he'd pay me back all my invested money along with my profit share within December 2002. Until September, 2002 he maintained email-based communications with me. However, after that time I could never communicate with him, nor did he ever respond to my email/telephone queries. Then I had my family members try to meet him but they could never meet. One of my family member tried to settle the matter peaceful but failed. In March 2003, I came to know that my partner has left for a foreign country. At this point I made a GD entry to the thana in the area where my partner used to reside in and reported this issue to the local embassy of the country where my partner has been residing, which failed to brought me any results. Given this situation, I would like to know what legal actions/options I have at this moment and what would be the best option towards a normal solution of this problem. I would much appreciate your advice.
Ahmed Shamim,
Tokyo, Japan.

Your Advocate: I have gone through your query. It reminds me of the oft-quoted saying- money is a good servant but worst master. If you fail to handle it in a scrupulous way it may turn counter-productive and may serve to do you any harm that you can not imagine. History of partnership business of the kind with a friend is the history of the end of friendship. So you lose both- a otherwise good friend and your money. No, No! you need not be disappointed. These are mere words of caution not of disappointment. Law is there to help you out. The substance of your grievance is you started a partnership business with one of your friend. There was a formal partnership deed duly executed by the parties. Since you work abroad your partner ran the actual business under your remote supervision. For some time he behaved properly and used to send you profit-loss statements. At a certain point of time he suddenly informed you that he was going to close down the business and withdraw the entire investment including yours from the business for some unavoidable personal reasons. You came back home, had discussion with the partner. He agreed to pay you back your share of the capital and profit which was supported by a second documentation. But eventually your partner melted away from the scene severing all contacts with you with the apparent intention to misappropriate all your money due from the business. Meanwhile you came to know that your partner had left the country on a short visit. You have by now made a GD Entry. All right. It may serve you some purpose. Letters of your query suggests that you are still expecting a peaceful settlement at the family level. No doubt, it is the best if could be done. If you fail, you can file a money suit in the civil court for recovery of your money and in addition lodge an FIR in the police station or alternatively initiate a proceeding against your partner in the court of Magistrate alleging a commission of criminal breach of trust. The legal course, if taken, may be a bit troublesome and lengthy. So this should be the last option.


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