Former Bangladesh PM in court over two graft cases

Former Bangladesh PM in court over two graft cases

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia on Thursday appeared in court for two graft cases that accuse her of embezzling around Tk 50 million (around $600,000).

The former prime minister was scheduled to continue her defence statement in the case over the Zia Charitable Trust, bdnews24 reported.

In the Zia Orphanage Trust case, the investigating officer was set to provide fresh testimony.

The two cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) were being heard at Dhaka’s Third Special Judges Court set up at a temporary location at Bakshi Bazar.

Khaleda began delivering her defence statement in the Zia Charitable Trust case on December 1 and pleaded not guilty to the charge of embezzling Tk 31.5 million ($400,000) from the charity.

She then moved to the High Court for an order to freeze the graft case. Her plea said the prosecution’s 32 witnesses were not under proper oath and should therefore testify again.

Khaleda’s lawyers on December 15 submitted a 225-strong list of witnesses for the defence. But the hearing over her statement had to be put off after she was absent on two instances.

The court has fixed January 26 for the next hearing in Zia Charitable Trust graft case in response to a time petition filed by the BNP chief, Dhaka Tribune reported.

On August 8, 2011, the ACC filed the charitable trust case with Tejgaon police, accusing four persons, including Khaleda, of abusing power in raising funds and its management.

The commission filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on July 3, 2008, at the Ramna police station, accusing Khaleda, her son Tarique Rahman and four others over embezzlement.