Niko graft hearing deferred on Jan 3

14 Nov,2018

Today's hearing in Niko graft case against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and others has been adjourned until January 3 next year.

Judge Md Mahmudul Kabir of the Special Judge Court-9 passed the order after Khaleda’s lawyer filed a petition seeking adjournment.

During today’s hearing, Khaleda, on a wheelchair, told the makeshift court inside old central jail, the case was filed to harass her politically.

She sought adjournment in consideration of the elections.

The BNP chief was moved to old Dhaka central jail on November 8 on the day she was set to appear in the graft trial of Niko case.

What are the allegations in Niko graft case?

On December 9, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the Niko graft case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing Khaleda and 10 others of abusing power to award a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko during her tenure as the prime minister.

Why the court was set up inside old central jail?

On November 7, the law ministry issued a gazette notification ensuring the trial of Khaleda and others accused in the Niko corruption case to be held at a makeshift court in Old Dhaka central jail.

The ministry issued the gazette notification transferring the court citing security reasons.

Why Khaleda is in jail?

Khaleda landed in the old central jail on February 8 after a special court sentenced her to five years' rigorous imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.

The High Court on October 30 enhanced the punishment of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to 10 years imprisonment in the case.

Besides, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was also convicted in Zia Charitable Trust corruption case and sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment by a special court on October 29.

What are the allegations against Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage trust graft case?

The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the graft case with Ramna Police Station in Dhaka in July 2008, accusing Khaleda and five 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 ÒPrime Minister's Orphanage TrustÓ 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 between June 9, 1991, and September 5, 1993, it said.

When did Khaleda’s political career start?

Khaleda was made vice-chairperson of BNP in March 1983 after the assassination of her husband and former president, Ziaur Rahman. She became chairperson of the party on May 10, 1984, a post she is holding still today.

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