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The South Asian Times | সাউথ এশিয়ান টাইমস

US slaps sanction on ex-army chief Gen Aziz, family members

Action against me taken to embarrass, dis

Bangladesh mission in US earlier informed on travel ban against Gen Aziz: FM

DEEPAK KUMAR ACHARJEE 

Published: 20:31, 21 May 2024

US slaps sanction on ex-army chief Gen Aziz, family members

The US Department of State has imposed sanctions on former chief of Bangladesh Army General (Retd.) Aziz Ahmed and his immediate family members due to his involvement in 'significant corruption'.
  A statement was issued by US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Monday midnight Bangladesh time. 
 It said this action renders Aziz Ahmed and his immediate family members generally ineligible for entry into the US.  Aziz Ahmed's actions have contributed to the undermining of Bangladesh's democratic institutions and the public's faith in public institutions and processes, it said.  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 claimed.  "This designation reaffirms the US commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and rule of law in Bangladesh," said the US government.  The United States supports anticorruption 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.  These public designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act. 
Talking to media yesterday, Aziz Ahmed said that the travel ban imposed on him and his family could have been done to embarrass or discredit the government.
He has claimed innocence against the US sanctions for alleged involvement in corruption. Expressing surprise at this, he said: "I have not committed any crime that should be punished."    Aziz Ahmed said if the US state department can prove the information that his brothers or any of his close relatives have received contract from Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) or Bangladesh Army while he was in charge, then he will accept all their allegations. 
In February 2021, an Al-Jazeera news report titled 'All the Prime Minister's Men' levied various allegations, including corruption, against then-army chief Aziz. Both the army headquarters and the Foreign Ministry refuted the report, labelling it as 'false' and 'slanderous.'  Aziz, at the time, said the claims made against him in the Al Jazeera documentary were fabricated, reiterating his stance yesterday.
However, he said that he will not pursue any legal or other process against this sanction. 
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said the US informed the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC about the sanctions imposed on former army chief General (retd) Aziz Ahmed before making it public.  He said General Aziz was not sanctioned under the US-announced visa policy but rather was under Section 7031(c) of the annual Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act.   Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud has said that the government of Bangladesh has taken a zero-tolerance policy on combating corruption and will continue to work with the United States on this issue.    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 claimed. 
On the other hand, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told media that he just informed the matter yesterday morning. But, he declined to make further comment on it. 

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