Ex-Bangladesh PM named in graft case


Bangladesh’s main opposition leader, ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia, has been accused of abuse of power and graft in a new case filed by the country’s main anti-corruption body, police said Monday. The charges relate to donations of up to 78 million taka ($1.05 million) made to a charity named after her late husband, independence hero Zia Rahman, when Zia was prime minister, police inspector Mahfuzul Haq said.
“She has been named as the main accused in the case” filed by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission, Haq said, adding that three other people including Zia’s political secretary had also been charged. Zia used her position as prime minister to force people to donate to the charity, said the commission’s lawyer, Syed Anisul Haq. “The money was then spent in a questionable way,” he told AFP.The commission is a nominally independent body but the opposition claims it is not politically neutral. This is the second graft case against Zia filed under the present government, which is led by her bitter rival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Both Hasina and Zia were detained for a year until the middle of 2008 as part of an anti-corruption crackdown launched by the then army-backed caretaker government.