[JURIST] A Bangladeshi court Wednesday formally charged former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed [party profile; JURIST news archive] with corruption under the recommendation of the country's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) [governing statute]. Hasina and eight other people are accused of involvement in an kickback scheme that awarded lucrative gas contracts to Canadian oil company Niko Resources Ltd [corporate website]. The charges came a day after the Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that proceedings brought against Hasina for corruption and extortion under Bangladesh's Emergency Power Regulations (EPR) were valid in respect of offences allegedly committed before the EPR came into effect [Daily Star report]. On Tuesday, formal corruption charges were filed against former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia [UN profile; JURIST report] in a related case. AP has more.
Bangladesh's current anti-corruption crackdown began last February as eight former Bangladeshi ministers were accused of corruption [JURIST report] and 13 other former ministers and senior politicians were arrested in raids on their homes [JURIST report] after Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] in the country and canceled a scheduled national election. In March of this year, Hasina appeared in court to face charges [JURIST reports] that she received approximately $440,000 in illegal kickbacks on a power-plant deal while in office between 1996 and 2001; she faces up to 14 years in jail if convicted in that case.