Bangladesh`s HC stays government order scrapping Koko`s parole

Last Updated: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 22:14

Dhaka: The Bangladesh High Court on Thursday
stayed for 40 days a government decision scrapping the parole
of the expatriate younger son of main opposition BNP chief
Khaleda Zia and ordering him to return home by August 31.

"The bench extended by 40 days the parole of (Zia?s
son) Arafat Rahman Koko but warned his parole will be
cancelled automatically if he does not report to Bangladesh
embassy in Bangkok every three days" in line with his earlier
parole condition that he defied earlier, a court official told
agency.
A two-member High Court bench comprising Mohammad
Abdul Wahhab Miah and Kazi Reza-ul-Huq issued the order on a
writ filed by Koko challenging the government decision while
it also asked the home ministry to explain by this time
why their order repealing the parole should not be declared
illegal.

The home ministry last week scrapped Koko`s parole and
asked him to surrender before a court to face pending graft
charges as "he violated the conditions of the parole" granted
by the past military backed interim government.

An accused in several other graft cases Koko is now in
Bangkok for treatment under the executive order granted on
July 19 in 2008 after he fell sick.

A senior home ministry official earlier said under the
conditions Koko was supposed to submit his health report to
the Bangladesh embassy in Bangkok in every three days but
since his departure to the Thai capital in July 2008 he did
not report to the embassy for "a single day".

Koko, a businessman who always maintained a low
profile, was arrested along with his mother from their
cantonment residence days after the arrest of his
high-profile elder brother Tarique Rahman on various graft and
criminal charges as part of a massive anti-corruption campaign
under emergency rules under the past regime.

But the government decision sparked immediate protests
in the opposition camp while BNP today staged demonstration at
Muktangon in the capital defying a police ban.
The home ministry order came last week five months
after the Anti-Corruption Commission formally accused Koko of
money laundering charges saying he siphoned out USD 38.16 lakh
to hide his illegal sources of income.

Officials said if found guilty, he might be
sentenced to seven years in jail as the case filed under Money
Laundering Prevention Act 2009, accuses Koko of laundering
funds he had received in bribes while Zia wad the prime
minister during the 2001-2006 tenure of her BNP.

Singaporean authorities in December last year froze
assets worth USD 1.6 million associated with a company Koko
established in 2004 while the United States and Britain
earlier extended hands to Bangladesh in recovering an
estimated USD 200 million stashed by him and several other
high-profile suspects in Singapore banks.

The money was allegedly paid in kickbacks to Koko and
several ministers of Zia`s past BNP-led four-party alliance
government by different foreign and local companies for
getting lucrative projects in different sectors.

The graft cases against Zia family members as well as
many other high-profile politicians including those of the
ruling Awami League were later stayed by the High Court for
decision as their legality were challenged by the accused.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 22:14

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