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Bangladesh to establish corruption 'truth commission'

[JURIST] The Bangladeshi government intends to establish a "truth commission" to bolster the economy following a judicial crackdown on business corruption, according to a Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer drafting a proposal to establish the commission. The truth commission would offer pardons to business people who have been detained on corruption charges if they confess and return any ill-gotten money. Economic growth has all but stopped in the wake of widespread detention of lawmakers, business people, and political heads, according to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce [official website], which says the crackdown has created a "climate of fear" that suppresses domestic investment.

The crackdown on corruption [JURIST news archive; Bangladeshnews.com report], which began in February, has led to the arrest of more than 150 prominent political and business leaders. Last week, Bangladeshi property tycoon Ahmed Akbar Sobhan and his family were convicted in absentia by Bangladesh's anti-corruption commission [governing statute, PDF] of evading taxes amounting to $1.2 million and sentenced to five years in jail. Last month former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia [UN profile] and her son were arrested on corruption and misuse of power charges [JURIST report], just one day after former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed [party profile] was charged [JURIST report] with corruption and taking bribes. AFP has more. The Daily News has local coverage.

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