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Cablegate: Bangladesh Contribution to 2008 International

VZCZCXRO0154
PP RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #0350 0800909
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200909Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6484
INFO RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 8375
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 2101
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 9600
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 0569
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA PRIORITY 1221

UNCLAS DHAKA 000350

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO INL/C/CP FOR DIANE KOHN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KCOR BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH CONTRIBUTION TO 2008 INTERNATIONAL
ANTICORRUPTION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE ACT (IAGGA) AND RELATED REPORTING
REQUIREMENTS

REF: STATE 18836

1. (U) The following is the draft text on Bangladesh for reporting
under the International Anticorruption and good Governance Act.

2. (U) Following the declaration of a state of emergency in January
2007, the Caretaker Government took several significant steps to
address government corruption. It appointed a retired army chief as
the new chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), formed a
National Coordination Committee to help coordinate government and
security forces efforts to investigate graft, and set up several
task forces to help the committee with its work.

3. (U) In 2007, security forces detained several hundred
high-profile graft suspects. Among those detained were former prime
ministers Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, both of whom were charged
in bribery cases dating to their government tenures. Using the
Special Powers Act that allows preventive detention, the government
detained them and prominent business and political leaders. The
majority of those persons were then tried under existing
anti-corruption legislation. Most high-profile cases were handled
under the Emergency Power Rules that deny suspects both the right to
bail and the right to appeal their cases during their trials. Local
media reported in February 2008 that at least 240 people had been
sentenced to jail in the anti-corruption drive. Several Bangladeshi
business and political leaders also have said that investment has
dried up because entrepreneurs do not want to draw attention lest
they be rounded up during the anti-corruption drive. Post repeatedly
has said that due process must be observed to ensure that graft
suspects are afforded fair judicial treatment.

4. (U) With an aim to contribute to good governance and
accountability, USAID began implementing in October 2007 a
four-year, $18 million anti-corruption program for Bangladesh. It
will provide technical assistance to strengthen parliamentary
oversight committees, the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor
General, citizen advocacy and watchdog initiatives, legal reforms
that promote greater access to reliable information, investigative
journalism, and citizen participation in understanding and
developing program-based budgets. It will help increase the public
sector's credible and effective stewardship of public resources by
assisting in a more transparent development, review and
implementation of the Government of Bangladesh's national budget.

5. (U) The Department of Justice (DOJ) has provided training on
financial investigations to the national corruption task forces.
This training has involved instructors from the Internal Revenue
Service and the U.S. financial intelligence unit, who have taught
simple forensic accounting, investigative methods and interviewing
to 90 members from the five-agency national corruption task forces.
DOJ also has worked with the Government of Bangladesh to establish
an operational financial intelligence unit in the central bank.

PASI

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