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Ershad acquitted in another graft case PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Desk Report

A Dhaka court on Tuesday acquitted former president HM Ershad in a graft case involving the controversial purchase of electronic news gathering (ENG) equipment during his term in office.

After the verdict, given by Dhaka Divisional Judge Md Golam Mortuza, Ershad told that he had received justice and he hoped that he would be acquitted in the remaining cases against him.
Handing down his verdict, the judge said that as Ershad resigned from his presidential post one day after installation of the ENG equipment he did not get the opportunity to use it.
Of 21 witnesses deposed in the trial none of them could say clearly how much was misappropriated from state coffers in line with the charges, Golam Mortuza said.
"As head of a presidential government, Ershad approved the purchase of the ENG equipment, but he was not the only person to give the approval; the investigation officer did wrong to accuse only the former president in the case," he added.
As the FIR, chargesheet and testimony failed to prove that Ershad abused his power to purchase the equipment through misappropriation, he has been acquitted in the case, the judge ruled.
The now defunct Bureau of Anticorruption filed the case on Feb 29, 1992, pressing charges on Oct 27 the same year.
According to the case details, the national transmission authorities were ordered to purchase an ENG set at Tk 2.93 crore in 1989, during Ershad's time in office.
Ershad is accused of abusing his power to misappropriate money from the state coffers to purchase the equipment for his own office, even though all broadcasting facilities were available at his secretariat.
The trial was concluded on June 8. A verdict date had twice been set before Tuesday's final ruling.
The former president faced numerous cases after he was deposed in 1990. In 2006, he was acquitted in four graft cases following his announcement of joining the BNP-led four-party alliance.
He has also been acquitted in two other cases—one involving charges of corruption case and another of gold smuggling—within the last one year though there are a number of cases still pending against, including a murder case and further charges of misuse of power.

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