US on Benazir, Aziz: Corruption saps economic growth, undermines democracy

Mathew MillerAFP

The United States has expressed a firm stance against corruption and asserted that it undermines economic growth, development, government and democracy. 

Mathew Miller, the spokesperson of the US state department, came up with the expression when asked about the corruption charges against former police chief Benazir Ahmed and army chief General (retd) Aziz Ahmed. 

At a regular state department press briefing on Tuesday, a journalist drew the spokesperson’s attention to the recent media reports on massive corruption by a former police chief of Bangladesh, who has been under US sanction, and asked him if any US agencies had identified or frozen any of his assets.

He also sought to know if the US has any findings about the former army chief who has recently been subjected to US visa restriction, and if the US will take any action against the top leadership of Bangladesh that facilitates a free pass for those corrupt individuals to do anything. 

In response, Miller said he has nothing to announce against the queries on asset seizures. He reiterated the US commitment to fighting corruption and emphasised that corruption saps economic growth, hinders development, destabilises government, and undermines democracy. 

He also mentioned that anti-corruption remains a core national security interest for the US administration.

“Our detailed implementation plan for this strategy has been articulated at a number of senior levels, but I do not have anything new to announce. And as you know, we never preview sanctions or other actions that we might take,” he clarified. 

The journalist also asked about the US observation regarding a recent documentary revealing that former and current members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which has been under US sanction for human rights violations, have been deployed as UN peacekeepers. 

"We're aware of these reports," said Miller. He emphasised the importance of peacekeeping personnel upholding human rights and noted the UN's reliance on troop-contributing countries to ensure they do not send individuals implicated in human rights abuses.