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Khaleda Zia’s aide sentenced for graft

By Xinhua

Dhaka : Bangladesh’s former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s political secretary Haris Chowdhury was sentenced Sunday in absentia to 59 years in jail for cheating, corruption and abuse of power.

Court officials said Haris would undergo jail term for 10 years, as the punishment on five separate charges will run concurrently.

Metropolitan Sessions Judge Azizul Haq in his verdict also fined him 1.05 million taka ($15,000).

Haris went into hiding since the present military backed caretaker government came to power Jan 11 this year. He was earlier jailed for three years in a corruption case.

The prosecution said Haris who acted as chairman of National Tea Company during the previous government (2001-06) was given a car for his official use. But, he illegally sold the car.

Zia, who is also the chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was the prime minister for two terms, 1991-1996 and 2001-2006.