Bangladesh braces for more protests as ex-PM charged with corruption

DHAKA: Bangladesh is bracing for more protests after the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday filed a case against former premier Khaleda Zia, accusing her of buying land in a trust’s name by using undeclared funds.Politics in impoverished Bangladesh has been dominated for two decades by a violent rivalry between Khaleda Zia and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, often trading corruption charges and organizing massive protests when in opposition.

The commission charges, the first since Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League Party took power in 2009, come after a series of anti-government strikes last month that have crippled business over issues ranging from a constitutional amendment on election procedures ahead of 2013 polls to a recent natural gas exploration pact with ConocoPhillips .The commission, responsible for investigating official corruption charges and used widely when an army-backed government under emergency rule took power between 2007 and 2009, alleges Khaleda Zia bought land in 2005 for 65.2 million taka ($881,000) for a charity named after her slain husband former president Ziaur Rahman.

“But the trust failed to show any valid source for part of the payment of the land purchase,” a commission official told reporters. Khaleda Zia’s two sons also face corruption charges, which her Bangladesh Nationalist Party said were politically motivated. – Arabnews