brad brace

3/17/2007

Rich dump toys in Bangladesh crackdown

Filed under: bangladesh,global islands — admin @ 5:41 am

THE rich and powerful of Bangladesh are dumping luxury goods from top-of-the-range 4WDs to pet peacocks in the hope of evading a crackdown on corruption by the new military regime.

The latest haul includes three Hummers abandoned by the roadside in Dhaka and six rare deer left in a disused iron foundry, police said yesterday.

The discoveries came after the confiscation of more vehicles and exotic pets from politicians arrested since an election was cancelled and a state of emergency declared on January 11.

The animals, including a bear and a cheetah, have been given to a safari park after what one official described as the largest recovery of wildlife since independence.

The seizures hint at the extraordinarily opulent lifestyles enjoyed by Bangladesh’s political elite, while more than half the population of 150 million struggles by on less than a dollar a day.

And the crackdown reflects the military’s determination to root out corruption at the top before organising new elections.

Security forces last week arrested Tarique Rahman, whose mother, Khaleda Zia, was prime minister until late last year. Mr Rahman, wearing a bullet-proof vest, was remanded in custody for a month yesterday pending a full investigation into corruption charges against him.

The military’s role in government was formalised last week with the establishment of a National Security Council, including the civilian head of a caretaker administration and the chiefs of the three armed services. That has raised concerns among Western diplomats and ordinary Bangladeshis about how and when the army will return to barracks.

However, most people support the new regime, such was their disillusionment with the personal rivalry between Ms Zia and the main opposition leader, Sheikh Hasina, which has dominated politics since 1991.

When Ms Zia’s Bangladesh National Party was in power, her 40-year-old son became known as Yuvraj (Prince) and Mr Ten Per Cent because of the cut he was alleged to take on government deals. Critics accuse him of amassing millions of dollars through corruption.

The military now appears determined to break the grip of both the BNP and Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League.

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