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20 July 2024

Niko graft case

Court allows 3 foreigners to testify against Khaleda Zia

Online Desk

Published: 10:25, 17 September 2023

Court allows 3 foreigners to testify against Khaleda Zia

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, File Photo

A Dhaka court has allowed a former US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official and two members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to testify against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and eight others in the Niko graft case.

Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of Dhaka Special Judge's Court-9 at Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj gave this order on Sunday (17 September) after hearing on the case.

The three foreign officials are Debra LaPrevotte Griffith of FBI and Kelvin Duggan and Lloyd Schoepp of Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Later, the judge fixed October 10 for next hearing of the case.

Earlier on September 12, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin filed an application to produce the witnesses. Then the court fixed today for the hearing on the petition.

On that day, Judge Sheikh Hafizur recorded the statement of the then Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) assistant director Muhammad Mahbubul Alam. Today was fixed for questioning Mahbubul Alam.

The ACC on December 9, 2007, filed the case against five, including Khaleda Zia with Tejgaon Police Station, for abusing power in signing a deal with Canadian company Niko for exploring and extracting gas.

On March 19 this year, Judge of Dhaka Special Court-9 Sheikh Hafizur Rahman framed charges against Khaleda and seven others in Niko graft case.

The court also set May 23 for recording the testimonies of the witnesses.

The anti-graft body pressed charges in court against 11 people, including Khaleda, in May 2008.

The other accused in the case are former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique, Khandaker Shahidul Islam, CM Yusuf Hossain, former Bapex general manager Mir Mainul Haq, Giasuddin Al Mamun, former parliamentarian MAH Selim and former vice-president of South Asia affairs of Niko Kashem Sharif.

Among the accused, BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former state minister AKM Mosharraf Hossain and former secretary of Bapex Shafiur Rahman died during the trial proceedings.