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Bangladesh ex-PM Zia charged with corruption

[JURIST] Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) [governing statute] has filed formal charges against former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia [UN profile], officials said Tuesday. Zia and 10 other officials are accused of corruption and abuse of power for an alleged kickback scheme that awarded lucrative gas contracts to Canadian oil company Niko Resources Ltd [corporate website]. PTI 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 cancelled a scheduled national election. Zia and her son were arrested on suspicion of corruption [JURIST report] in September. In March of this year, fellow ex-Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed [party profile; JURIST news archive] 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. ACC officials said Tuesday they also expected to file charges related to the Niko Resources case against Hasina and six others.

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