Khaleda’s political secretary sentenced for graft case

By Xinhua

Dhaka : Bangladesh's former prime minister Khaleda Zia's political secretary Harris Chowdhury was sentenced to three-year imprisonment by a special court in a graft case Monday.

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This is the first judgment by the special court in a corruption case, involving a top political personality, under the caretaker government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed.

Dozens of former ministers and members of parliament, now in jail, are also facing charges of corruption.

The special court, after examining the records and evidence of the prosecution's witnesses, found Harris Chowdhury, who was tried in absentia, guilty and pronounced the sentence.

The court took six working days in disposing of the graft case.

Since Harris Chowdhury is on the run, the sentence will be effective after his arrest or his surrender before the court.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Deputy Director Abu Sayeed filed the case on April 5 accusing Harris of not submitting wealth statement to the Commission within the stimulated time.

The country's military backed caretaker government assuming power on January 12 started campaign against corruption and rounded up dozens of former ministers and members of parliament who belong to former prime minister Khaleda Zia's government (2001-2006) and her predecessor Sheikh Hasina's government (1996-2001).

The convicts have the right to go to the higher court to appeal against the judgment of the special court.