HC enhances Khaleda’s jail term in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case

DHAKA, Oct 30, 2018 : The High Court (HC) today enhanced BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia’s five-year jail term to 10 years in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

A High Court division bench comprising Justice M. Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md. Mostafizur Rahman passed the order, allowing a revision plea filed by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) against a lower court judgment that awarded the BNP chief a lenient sentence of five-year imprisonment for embezzling money meant to be spend for orphans, considering her age and social status.

“The court accepted our plea and enhanced her sentence to a 10-year imprisonment. At this moment we can say that she (Khaleda) will not be able to contest the next general election,” ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan told newsmen.

Dhaka special judge court-5 on February 8 sentenced the BNP leader to five-year imprisonment and other five accused including her “fugitive” elder son and BNP’s senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman, to a 10-year imprisonment each.

The court also fined them Taka 2.10 crore. “All of the accused played an identical role in the crime. But her (Khaleda’s) jail term was brought down a bit considering her age and social status,” the court said in its judgment.

The other convicts are former lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, and her nephew Mominur Rahman.

After the judgement, Khaleda, Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal and Sarfuddin Ahmed, three convicts, who are now behind the bars, filed appeals against their conviction. The ACC too filed a revision plea to enhance Khaleda’s sentence. The HC today came up with the order, rejecting pleas of the three convicts.