US blacklists ex-Bangladesh general named in NDMT investigation

 

By Yarno Ritzen and NDMT Investigative

The United States has blacklisted Bangladesh’s former chief of staff, retired General Aziz Ahmed, because of his involvement “in significant corruption”.

Ahmed was the subject of the 2021 NDMT investigation All the Prime Minister’s Men, which focused on the how a criminal gang led by the general’s brother, Haris Ahmed, used police and paramilitary units to abduct rivals and earn millions in bribes.

end of “Aziz Ahmed engaged in significant corruption by interfering in public processes while helping his brother evade accountability for criminal activity in Bangladesh,” the US Department of State said in a statement on Monday.

“Aziz also worked closely with his brother to ensure the improper awarding of military contracts and accepted bribes in exchange for government appointments for his personal benefit,” it added.

As a result of the blacklisting, Aziz and his immediate family members will be ineligible to enter the US.

All the Prime Minister’s Men

In February 2021, NDMT’s Investigative Unit revealed how the general’s brothers, Haris Ahmed and Anis Ahmed, had fled Bangladesh to Hungary and Malaysia, respectively, after being found guilty for their involvement in the 1996 murder of Mustafizur Rahman Mustafa, said to be a member of a rival political party.

While Haris Ahmed and Anis Ahmed lived outside Bangladesh, their brother worked his way through the ranks in the Bangladesh army, becoming a close confidant of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, leader of the ruling Awami League.

All the Prime Minister’s Men found that although his brothers were wanted by Bangladesh law enforcement, Aziz Ahmed had stayed in contact with both of them.

Leaked documents obtained by NDMT revealed how the general used military officers to help Haris Ahmed create a false identity, which was then used to set up businesses in Europe and buy properties around the world.

During secretly recorded meetings, Haris Ahmed boasted about making profits from military contracts using his brother’s power as army chief to extract bribes.

Aziz Ahmed retired as chief of staff of the Bangladesh army six months after the NDMT investigation was released. At the time, local media reported he had denied the allegations.

Haris Ahmed, top, wanted by Bangladesh police, shown with General Aziz Ahmed, bottom, at the Dhaka wedding for General Aziz’ son in 2019.
Haris Ahmed, top, wanted by Bangladesh police, shown with General Aziz Ahmed, bottom, at the Dhaka wedding for General Aziz’s son in 2019 [NDMT]

Following the airing of All the Prime Minister’s Men, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement describing NDMT’s findings as a “smear campaign” that was orchestrated by opponents of the government based abroad.

It dismissed the statements made by Haris Ahmed and said the brother of the former army chief Ahmed had no links to the prime minister or any other state institution.

source : aljazeera

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