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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

US imposes sanctions on former army chief Aziz Ahmed, his family members

  • State Dept says his actions contributed to undermining Bangladesh’s democratic institutions
  • Adds that Aziz engaged in significant corruption by interfering in public processes  
Update : 21 May 2024, 04:55 PM

The US Department of State has announced the public designation of General (retd) Aziz Ahmed, previously chief of the Bangladesh Army staff, due to his involvement in “significant corruption,” rendering him and his immediate family members generally ineligible for entry into the United States.

His actions had contributed to the undermining of Bangladesh’s democratic institutions and the public’s faith in public institutions and processes, the State Department said in a press statement on Monday.

“Aziz Ahmed engaged in significant corruption by interfering in public processes while helping his brother evade accountability for criminal activity in Bangladesh.  

“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.”

The State Department said this designation reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law in Bangladesh.  

It added that the United States supported anti-corruption efforts in Bangladesh through assistance to make government services more transparent and affordable, improve the business and regulatory environment, and build capacity in investigating and prosecuting money laundering and other financial crimes. 

It noted that these public designations were made under Section 7031(c) of the annual Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act. “This action renders Aziz and his immediate family members generally ineligible for entry into the United States.”

Previously, on December 10, 2021, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the elite paramilitary force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) as well as seven of its current and former officers due to "serious human rights violations."

Meanwhile, on Deutsche Welle’s “Khaled Mohiuddin Jante Chay" streamed on YouTube on December 24, 2021, in response to the interviewer’s question if the US had revoked his visa, General Aziz dismissed media reports making the claim. 

He went on to mention US laws that stipulated that the country’s relevant authorities “shall” notify the person whose visa they were revoking. 

Responding to Khaled Mohiuddin’s question if he had a valid US visa, General Aziz said: “As far as I am concerned, yes.”

The interview questions were mostly on Gen Aziz’s alleged links to corruption, as mentioned in a documentary, titled "All the Prime Minister's Men", by Al-Jazeera.

The documentary was aired on February 1, 2021, when Gen Aziz was the sitting chief of army staff. The Bangladesh Army also rejected the report, terming it false and fabricated.

On February 17, the High Court ordered the government to remove the documentary from all online and communication media. The order came following a hearing on a writ petition. Gen Aziz went on to retire on June 24 of the same year.

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