Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia today was sentenced to seven years in jail in a case involving a charity fund named after her late husband.
Justice Md Akhtaruzaman of a special court in Dhaka found her guilty of misuse of power as Prime Minister in collecting huge fun for the Zia Charitable Trust Fund from unknown sources.
Khaleda and the other convicts were also fined Tk 10 lakh each. This is the highest punishment under the existing law. The court also ordered to attach in favour of the state the 42 kathas of land which was purchased under the name of the trust.
There was no defence lawyer present at the court today.
Ms Zia was absent in court as she is in a hospital while serving a prison term of five years in a separate case.
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The judge also sentenced three others to seven years in jail each for collecting the money from undeclared sources.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lodged the Zia Charitable Trust graft case against Khaleda and three others with Tejgaon Police Station in August 2011. According to the case, the former prime minister and three others abused their power and raised funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The three others are Abul Harris Chowdhury, former political secretary to Prime Minister Khaleda, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) to Harris, and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka City mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Ms Zia’s party says the charges in both the cases are politically motivated.