Zia Orphanage Trust graft case verdict Thursday

Zia Orphanage Trust graft case verdict Thursday

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Dhaka, 07 Feb – The Special Judge Court-5 of Dhaka is expected to deliver its verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case filed against BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and five others today (Thursday).Judge Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman of the makeshift court set up in Bakshibazar area of the old Dhaka, on January 25 fixed February 8 to hand down the verdict, after the prosecution and defence counsels completed their 16-days’ closing arguments in presence of Khaleda Zia.
The main accused former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia of the case will appear in the court before the announcement of the verdict, according to her counsel Sanaullah Mia.
She faces a maximum of life term imprisonment if proved guilty in the case. However, she would be out of the coming election of the year, if she gets a minimum of two years’ imprisonment and if her conviction is not stayed by the apex court. During the last army-backed caretaker government, she was in the jail for about a year.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the graft case with Ramna Model Police Station on July 3, 2008, accusing Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and four others of misappropriating over Tk 2.1 crore that had come from a foreign bank as grants for orphans.
According to the case document, then (1991-1996) Prime Minister Khaleda Zia opened an account named “Prime Minister's Orphanage Trust” with the Ramna branch of Sonali Bank.
On June 9, 1991, $126,000 (Tk 4,44,81,216) was deposited in the account from United Saudi Commercial Bank, but the money was not spent for any orphanage in between June 9 and September 5 of the same year, the case document said.
The Zia Orphanage Trust was set up by Khaleda Zia’s two sons and a nephew. It was registered on September 5, 1993. A total of Tk 2,33,33,500 was given to the trust on November 13, 1993, to establish an orphanage in Bogra, reads the FIR. The money was deposited in the Trust account on November 15 that year and Tk 4 lakh was withdrawn from it on December 4, the FIR says.
Later, the amount was transferred to the accounts of two other accused- then BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed.
The other cases, the Zia Charitable Trust graft case was filed on August 8, 2011, with Tejgaon Model Police Station accusing four persons including Khaleda Zia of raising funds for the trust from unknown sources through abuse of power. – Special Correspondent

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