Trial on with Koko away | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 05, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 05, 2011

Trial on with Koko away

Singaporean sentenced for keeping Koko's laundered money

Trial of a money laundering case against former premier Khaleda Zia's son Arafat Rahman Koko and Ismail Hossain Saimon, son of former shipping minister late Akbar Hossain, began yesterday with deposition of the complainant.
Twenty-three cases are pending against Khaleda, her elder son Tarique Rahman and Koko. Of those, the money laundering case against Koko is the first which has been put on hearing.
Koko and Saimon have been charged in the case with laundering of Tk 23 crore to Singapore.
As both Koko and Saimon are absconding, the court started the trial against them in absentia.
A Singapore court has also sentenced a Singaporean citizen who kept Koko's laundered money in his account.
According to Singapore newspaper The Straits Times report, the court on Monday convicted and fined businessman Lim Siew Cheng $900,677 (S$1.2 million) for transferring Koko's $3.17 lakh and holding the money in his personal account upon Koko's advice.
Besides, Tarique Rahman is also facing a money laundering case which was fixed for hearing yesterday in another Dhaka court for taking the charges into cognisance.
The Court of Senior Special Judge Md Zohurul Hoque yesterday deferred the hearing and fixed February 2 for it to take into cognisance the charges brought against BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and his business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun in the money laundering case.
Mohammad Mozammel Hossain, judge of the Special Judge's Court-3, started trial of the case against Koko through recording statement of complainant Mohammad Abu Sayeed, deputy director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
After recording the complainant's statement, the judge fixed January 19 for next hearing and summoned four other witnesses to appear before the court on the scheduled date.
In his deposition, Sayeed said the ACC high-ups on March 4, 2009 directed him to launch an inquiry into allegations against Koko for his reported involvement in money laundering.
Following the direction, he made an inquiry into the allegations and found Koko's involvement in laundering money to Singapore. Later he submitted the probe report to the commission, which directed him to file a case against Koko.
Sayeed said he then filed the case with Kafrul police on March 17, 2009 on charge of laundering Tk 23 crore to Singapore.
In the case statement, the anti-graft body said the accused had laundered money they received from China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd and Siemens for helping them win government contracts.
China Harbour got a Tk 351 crore contract to set up New Mooring Container Terminal and Siemens a Tk 239 crore contract to supply and install equipment for Teletalk, the state-owned mobile phone operator.
After an investigation into the matter, the ACC pressed charges against Koko and Saimon on November 12, 2009. Saimon's name was included in the charge sheet as his involvement with money laundering was found.
The same judge on November 30 last year framed charges against the duo in their absence and said the trial would continue in absentia.
Special Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol appeared for the state.
CASE AGAINST TARIQUE
Judge Mohammad Zohurul Haque of the Senior Special Judge's Court passed the order after Tarique's lawyer sought adjournment of the hearing seeking time for preparation for it.
In the petition, Tarique's lawyer said the High Court had earlier rejected his client's writ filed to challenge legality of the charges. A leave to appeal petition was filed later with the Supreme Court that is now pending hearing, he added.
Mamun was produced before the court, while Tarique had gone abroad for treatment.
On July 6 last year the ACC pressed money laundering charges against Tarique and Mamun, accusing the two of laundering Tk 20.41 crore between 2003 and 2007.
According to the charge sheet, Tarique had realised the money in foreign currencies from different companies and organisations. In exchange for the sums, he had promised to win them contracts using his clout as son of the then prime minister Khaleda Zia.

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