Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Benazir Ahmed responds to corruption allegations

  • ‘Some people are very angry’
  • ‘They are already writing editorials and op-ed pieces based on their excitement’
Update : 02 Apr 2024, 10:08 PM

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed has responded to a series of investigative reports published by Dainik Kaler Kantho newspaper and the NEWS24 channel on his alleged corruption and lavish lifestyle.

In a post on his verified Facebook profile, Benazir wrote: “Some people are very angry—they are already writing editorials and op-ed pieces based on their excitement. Please have some patience. The announcement already says, ‘The story of slander is not yet finished’.”

Dainik Kaler Kantho has been publishing a series of reports on various alleged misdeeds and corruption of Benazir Ahmed, who also served as director general of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from January 2015 to April 2020. 

The reports highlighted his lavish lifestyle and his holdings of shares in different companies. The reports, titled ‘Aladdin’s lamp in Benazir’s house’, ‘Flat worth Tk3.5 crore for daughter’s leisure’, ‘Benazir’s resort on forest land’, and ‘Land properties in Saint Martin and Cox’s Bazar’ have gone viral on social media. 

Many questioned how a government official could own so much wealth. However, there were no comments from Benazir about any of the reports published by the newspaper.

On December 10, 2021, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions against RAB, Benazir, and five other current and former members of the elite force in accordance with the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. 

It said RAB and other law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh were responsible for more than 600 disappearances since 2009 and nearly 600 extrajudicial killings and instances of torture since 2018. 

The State Department also imposed sanctions on Benazir and another RAB official on the same day.

The government maintains that RAB, formed in 2004, has demonstrated success in curbing terrorism, and that it operates in the way the US trained them. The then foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told parliament last year that diplomatic efforts were on track to deal with the US regarding the sanctions on RAB. He also acknowledged that the matter is a political issue that might follow a protracted process.

After visiting the US to attend a UN summit in New York in August 2022, Benazir said: "They [the US] alleged that 600 people have gone missing under RAB's watch since 2009. But I joined the force in 2015. So why am I included in the list? The big truth is that in 2009, I was working as the first secretary of the Bangladesh Mission in New York. The real truth is that no list of 600 missing people has been published anywhere.”

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