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Commission Cites Corruption Evidence Against Ousted President

March 31, 1991

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ The head of a government-appointed panel said Sunday sufficient evidence was uncovered for 43 allegations of corruption and abuse of power against deposed President Hussain Muhammad Ershad.

Supreme Court Judge Dewan Mohammad Ansaruddin submitted the first part of the three-member commission’s report to caretaker President Shahabuddin Ahmed, Bangladesh’s state-run television reported.

It quoted Ansaruddin as saying the commission examined 53 allegations against Ershad and his former ministers. The television report gave no details of the findings.

Ershad, 61, is already charged with unlawful possession of firearms and a corruption case involving $562,000 worth of Bangladeshi currency seized from his home. His annual salary as president was $4,116.

The television report quoted Ansaruddin as saying the commission will continue its investigations and that he recommended making the first part of the report public.

Sources close to the commission said formal charges may be filed later on the basis of the full report.

Shahabuddin set up the commission after Ershad resigned Dec. 6 following seven weeks of protests against his rule.

Ershad, a former army general, has pleaded innocent in the firearms and currency cases. The trial for possessing illegal weapons resumes Tuesday. The next hearing in the corruption case is set for April 21.

Ershad seized power in a 1982 coup. Currently under house arrest, he won five seats in February’s Parliamentary elections.

He is allowed to retain one seat, but if convicted in the arms case he would lose his right to serve in Parliament and would be banned from politics for life.

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