An investigation by Al-Jazeera network reveals the complicity of a criminal gang with the security forces in Bangladesh to extract bribes in exchange for obtaining state contracts and jobs in it, and this gang maintains all the time strong links with the country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The “The Prime Minister’s Men” documentary reveals how Hares and Anis Ahmed, both of whom have been convicted of murder, are protected by their brother, a high-ranking army officer, after they fled abroad to evade their sentence.
Their brother is General Aziz Ahmed, head of the Bangladesh Army, and Al-Naji is close to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, leader of the ruling Awami League.
Al-Jazeera Investigations Unit, in its two-year investigation, was able to trace Hares and Anis Ahmed, who were convicted of participating in a murder in Dhaka in 1996.
After the murder, a guard and Anis fled the authorities and were able to hide outside the country.
The two fares wanted
Haris, who is still on the country’s most wanted list, fled to Budapest in Hungary and still lives there after posing for another identity as Mohamed Hassan.
The other brother, Anis Ahmed, lives in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to which he fled after his 2007 murder conviction was upheld.
Although the two brothers are wanted by law enforcement in Bangladesh, General Aziz has maintained contact with his brothers.
Indeed, Haris and Anis visited Dhaka in March of 2019 to attend the wedding of Aziz’s son, where the two fugitives, together with the President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid and a number of senior foreign guests, participated in the lavish wedding.
Leaked documents obtained by Al-Jazeera reveal how General Aziz used army officers to help a guard impersonate a false identity in the name of Muhammad Hassan, which was later used to establish businesses in Europe and to buy real estate around the world.
Al-Jazeera also obtained forged documents that were used to obtain the passport, which was later revealed to be bearing the signature of a person belonging to a network working in the issuance of forged passports.
Meanwhile, the Ahmed clan continues to make money in Bangladesh, a guard revealed in a series of secret recordings. The clan makes money from selling positions in the national security forces and in the Dhaka police corps, in collusion with senior officers in the two agencies.
He claimed that the scheme included bribes paid to at least one of the most senior ministers in the government.
In the documentary, a guard is heard saying that “the position of the responsible officer at the airport costs at least between $ 625,000 to one and a half million dollars,” and goes on to say, “The amount of the transferred bribe is received by the Minister of Interior, the Inspector General and the Police Commissioner.”
He adds, “If the contract is worth 625 thousand dollars, we give them 375 thousand dollars, and the remaining quarter of a million dollars is our share.”
In other recordings, Hares brags about the profits he makes from military contracts, using his brother’s authority as head of the army to extract bribes. He also claims that he has the support of the political figure he was tasked with protecting, saying, “Even the Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) said, ‘If a guard wants to do something, let him do it.’ We will help. “
The island also managed to trace the traces of the second brother, who fled from justice, whose name is Anis Ahmed.
The real estate records of the house where Anis was staying show that it was owned by two people, Anis Ahmed and Muhammad Hassan, the latter being the name assumed by Haris Ahmed.
Protecting Sheikh Hasina
The fate of the Ahmed clan has long been linked to that of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Haris and Anees both worked as bodyguards for Hasina when her life was threatened while she was at the head of the opposition, leader of the Awami League in the 1980s and 1990s.
In a recorded phone call obtained by Al-Jazeera, General Aziz Ahmed recalls how Hasina defended the brothers in a meeting with her critics from party officials, where she told them, as the general recalls, “Listen. You do not know better than me who his brothers are. Where were all of you … When the bombs were dropped inside My house? Those things were happening to my house, so where were you? The brothers of the commander (General Aziz Ahmed) were all around me..they were my mother-in-law. “
The Ahmad clan consists of 5 brothers, 4 of whom ended up in the world of vice and criminality.
One of them is Joseph Ahmed, who was considered one of the most dangerous criminals in Bangladesh, who was sentenced to death for his role in the 1996 murder, but was released in May 2018, after a presidential pardon with the support of the Sheikha Prime Minister. Hasina.
Weeks later, Hasina appointed General Aziz, Joseph’s brother, as commander of the Bangladesh Army.
The fifth brother in the Ahmed clan, his name is Tipu, was killed in a shootout between gangs in 1999.
The Al-Jazeera investigation unit contacted all those mentioned in the investigation, including the prime minister, the minister of interior, the inspector general, the police commissioner, and the four brothers from the Ahmed clan, and we called them all to respond to the documentary’s findings, but no one responded.