The Bangladesh Election Commission on Sunday rejected former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s nomination applications to contest the general elections, Dhaka Tribune reported. On November 27, the nation’s attorney general had said that Zia has been barred from contesting the polls because of corruption convictions.
Zia, who is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, had filed three sets of applications to contest the upcoming 11th general election for the Bogra 6, Bogra 7, and Feni 1 constituencies. Bangladesh goes to polls on December 30.
Election officials cited her corruption convictions as the reason for the rejection of the nomination applications.
The development follows a High Court order that prohibits anyone sentenced to over two years in jail for corruption from contesting the elections. On October 30, a Dhaka court had extended Zia’s jail term from five to 10 years in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. In February, Zia and five others, including her son Tarique Rahman, were convicted of embezzling 21 million takas (approximately Rs 1.6 crore) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, which was established during her time as prime minister from 2001 to 2006.
On October 29, Zia and three others were sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in another corruption case – this time for abuse of power and raising 3.15 crore taka (Rs 2.72 crore) from unknown sources for the Zia Charitable Trust. The two sentences will run concurrently.
According to prosecutors, the Zia Orphanage Trust and the Zia Charitable Trust were established in the name of Zia’s late husband and former President Zia ur Rahman, and existed only on paper.