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Bangladesh: Rana Plaza Building Owner to be Charged in Construction Violation Case

Bangladesh’s anti-graft agency will soon file charges against the Rana Plaza building owner for the collapse that killed more than 1,100 garment workers in April last year.

According to Reuters, the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case with police last month accusing 17 people of breaching building construction regulations with regard to the Rana Plaza facility.

Mohammad Sohel Rana, whose name did not appear on the land ownership documents for the building but who was later found to be involved in the design approval, will be charged in a construction violation case.

Rana was originally arrested following a four-day hunt shortly after last year’s tragedy as he was reportedly trying to flee to India. He is currently being detained.

The Rana Plaza collapse sparked global outrage about garment industry working conditions and the country has since been working to rebuild its tarnished reputation as a viable sourcing locale.

Following the tragedy, Bangladesh increased the minimum monthly wage for garment workers by 77 percent to 5,300 taka ($68), has since allowed workers the right to unionize and has collaborated with initiatives like the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety to facilitate factory inspections.

Though some–like the U.S., which pulled Bangladesh’s trade benefits under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) last year as a warning to the country to improve its conditions–believe Bangladesh still needs to do more to improve worker rights and safety, the country’s exports continue to grow as its low costs can’t quite yet be beat.

For the year ended June 2014, Bangladesh’s total exports reached a record-high $30 billion, overwhelmingly driven by textile and apparel exports.