Bangladesh: Owner of Collapsed Building Jailed for Corruption

Published: 30 August 2017

Dhaka Savar Building CollapseRana Plaza 2013 collapse (Photo: rijans, CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Vanja Lakic

A Bangladeshi court has sentenced the owner of a nine-story building that collapsed in 2013 killing 1,100 people to three years in prison for corruption.

 Al Jazeera reported that on Tuesday, Sohel Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza, was convicted of financing two commercial buildings including the one that collapsed with money from undisclosed sources.  

"This is the first time he has been convicted and jailed," prosecutor Salahuddin Eskander, told AFP news agency. 

Rana separately faces other charges and punishments. He is accused of murder for forcing his staff to enter the building the day of the collapse despite knowing of its dilapidated condition, the Associated Press reported. If found guilty he faces execution.

Eighteen people including Rana also have been charged with violating building codes by extending the six-story structure three extra floors. Investigators said that extension played a role in what has become known as Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster.

 In addition to those killed, some 2,500 people mostly garment workers were hurt. The Rana Plaza incident highlighted the perilous conditions inside the country’s garment industry, the second largest in the world. It employs about 4 million workers, most of them women. The trade earns more than US $25 billion a year from exports.

Bangladesh instated reforms after the collapse, including new inspections and higher wages.