ZIA ORPHANAGE TRUST GRAFT CASE
Case filed: July 3, 2008
Total accused: 6
Charges framed: March 19, 2014
Trial started: September 22, 2014
Total prosecution witnesses: 32
Defence witnesses: 3
Closing arguments: December 20, 2017 to January 25, 2018
Number of days of proceedings: 236 days
Highest punishment: Life term
The case in brief
The Anti-Corruption Commission had filed the graft case with Ramna Police Station 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 “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 between June 9, 1991, and September 5, 1993, it said.
The Zia Orphanage Trust was set up by Khaleda'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 Zia Orphanage Trust from the “Prime Minister's Orphanage Trust” on November 13, 1993, to establish an orphanage in Bogra, reads the FIR.
The money was deposited in the Zia trust account on November 15 that year and Tk 4 lakh was withdrawn from the trust account of which Tk 2.77 lakh was spent on buying 2.79 acres of land at Gabtoli in Bogra under the name of Zia Orphanage Trust.
In the following 13 years, between 1993 and April 2006, there was no activity of the trust and the amount saved in the account of the trust grew to Tk 3.37 crore with accrued interest.
Later, the money was transferred to the accounts of three other accused -- then BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque, Ziaur Rahman's nephew Mominur Rahman and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, through different transactions.
According to the prosecution, in 1991, the money came from United Saudi Commercial Bank to prime minister's orphanage fund, which is a public fund.
But the money was transferred to Zia Orphanage Trust, a private fund, and the accused misappropriated the money by transferring the amount from a public fund to a private one, it said.
The defence counsels, however, said amir of Kuwait had sent $126,000 to a private fund to build an orphanage in memory of late president Ziaur Rahman.
But the prosecution submitted “forged documents” to make the private fund appear as a public fund under the Prime Minister's Office only to implicate and harass Khaleda for “political purposes”, they told the court.
Of the accused, Khaleda is now on bail while Salimul Haque and Sharfuddin are behind bars. Tarique, also the senior vice-chairman of BNP, Ziaur Rahman's nephew Mominur Rahman and former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique have been absconding.
The court received the case in July 2008 and completed the proceedings in 236 working days, according to the prosecution.