Niko graft case hearing deferred to Oct 2

Niko graft case hearing deferred to Oct 2

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Dhaka-The Ninth Special Judge Court of Dhaka on Sunday deferred the charge hearing in the Niko graft case against 11 persons including BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia to October 2.Judge Md Aminul Islam passed the order deferring the hearing for the eighth time. Earlier, accused BNP leader Moudud’s counsel Khairul Kabir said the rescheduling was made as they sought more time citing the defendants’ appeal against a High Court verdict, which scrapped their plea to drop the charges.
Other nine accused persons are- former State Minister for Energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former acting energy secretary Khandaker Shahidul Islam, former Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, former senior assistant secretary CM Yusuf Hossain, former general manager Meer Moinul Haque of the BAPEX, former secretary Shafiur Rahman, businessman Giausuddin Al Mamun, Dhaka Club’s former President Selim Bhuiyan and Kashem Sharif, Vice President (South Asia) of Niko Resources Bangladesh Limited.
The Anti Corruption Commission filed the case on December 9, 2007, during the military-backed caretaker regime and after the BNP Chief was arrested by the military-backed government.
Charges were pressed against 11 people, including the former PM, on May 5, 2008, for allegedly causing a loss of Tk 137 billion to the national exchequer by awarding the gas exploration contract to Canadian company Niko Resources.
The High Court on July 9 that year stayed proceedings of the graft case and issued a ruling after Khaleda filed the petition. The Appellate Division later upheld the stay order.
The case then remained stuck for the seven years until the ACC revived it last year.
On June 18, 2015, the High Court rejected Khaleda’s petition about questioning the legality of the case and lifted the freeze on the case proceedings. It had also ordered the former PM to surrender before the court within two months after receiving the court order.
Following the decision of the apex court, on November 30 last year, Khaleda Zia surrendered to the trial court and secured bail in the case. -Special Correspondent

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