Niko graft case: Charge framing hearing deferred again to May 24

A Dhaka court on Tuesday fixed May 24 for hearing on charge framing in the Niko graft case filed against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and 10 others.

Judge of Dhaka Special Court-9 Sheikh Hafizur Rahman fixed the fresh date following a time petition filed by Khaleda’s lawyer.

The time petition was filed as Khaleda Zia couldn’t appear before the court due to her illness, said Helal Uddin, a counsel of Khaleda Zia.

Earlier on March 8, the court deferred the hearing on charge framing in the case to April 12 (today).

On December 9, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case accusing Khaleda and four others of causing a loss of Tk 137.77 billion to the state by signing an oil and gas exploration deal with Canadian company Niko on behalf of the state that was deemed to not place Bangladesh’s national interest above all other considerations, and swayed by graft.

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

The other accused in the case are BNP Standing Committee Member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former state minister AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique, Khandaker Shahidul Islam, CM Yusuf Hossain, former Bapex general manager Mir Mainul Haq, its former secretary Shafiur Rahman, Giasuddin Al Mamun, former parliamentarian MAH Selim and former vice-president of South-Asia affairs Niko Kashem Sharif.