• Saturday, Jul 02, 2022
  • Last Update : 04:24 pm

Human trafficking: 4 more Kuwaitis under scanner for helping arrested Bangladesh MP Papul

  • Published at 12:21 pm June 20th, 2020
Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul Collected lakshmipur 2Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul Collected lakshmipur 2
File photo of Former Bangladeshi MP Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul Collected

Papul, an MP from Lakshmipur 2 constituency, is also a director of NRB Commercial Bank Ltd

Kuwaiti public prosecutors are investigating four more people who were involved in alleged money laundering and human trafficking with Bangladeshi MP Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul, adding ther total number of people under investigation to nine.

Among the four, two are in-charge of the Kuwaiti Public Authority for Manpower, a colonel in the Ministry of Interior and a businesswoman, reports Arab Times.

New leads came up about the accusations against MP Papul, according to a source.

Those who helped Papul with money laundering and human trafficking will soon be arrested, sources said

Earlier, Arab Times reported that Papul made yearly profits estimated to be at 2 million Kuwaiti Dinars (1 dinar = $3.25 approx), from bringing in migrant workers in Kuwait.

This is the net profit Papul made after deducting all bribes and gifts he spent to profit from the labour he brought in from Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has imposed a travel ban on 4 people, MP Papul and three of his family members, over allegations of their involvement in human trafficking to Kuwait and other countries.

The letter signed by ACC Deputy Director Md Salahuddin was sent to the Special Branch of Police and the Department of Immigration on Wednesday, confirmed ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain to Dhaka Tribune.

The letter said the accused may try to leave the country, and hence the concerned authorities are asked to take effective measures to make sure they cannot flee.

The letter also said that if anyone is staying abroad right now, then he or she will have to inform the ACC.

Among the accused, Papul is now detained in Kuwait due to his alleged involvement in human trafficking.

The others accused are the lawmaker’s wife Selina Islam, MP, their daughter Kazi Wafa Islam, and Selina’s sister Jasmin Prodhan.

Papul, a member of parliament elected from Lakshmipur 2 constituency, is also a director of NRB Commercial Bank Limited.

Earlier on June 10, ACC inquiry officer Deputy Director Md Salahuddin sent four separate letters to Papul’s Gulshan residence, asking for documents to be submitted to the ACC by June 17.

In the letter, the national anti-graft commission sought copies of original passports, National Identity Cards, TIN numbers, and income tax returns of the lawmaker couple and Selina’s sister Jasmin Prodhan.

However, they failed to submit the documents in due time. Now, the ACC will take action for non-compliance under Section 19(3) of the constitution, as mentioned in the letters.

As part of the investigation, ACC imposed a travel ban on them to accurately conduct an inquiry and sought information from the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh Bank (BB), the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), and other financial institutions, said ACC Deputy Director Md Salahuddin.

On February 26, the ACC launched an inquiry against Papul over allegations of amassing Tk1,400 crore by human trafficking to Kuwait and other countries.

A letter signed by ACC Director Mohammad Abdul Awal was sent to the lawmaker, accusing him of various corrupt practices, including amassing wealth illegally, human trafficking, and unlawful loan allocations to customers.

The decision came 10 days after Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the ACC would be asked to investigate the matter, reiterating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s stance against corruption.

“Legal measures will be taken if there is any complaint of corruption [against Shahid Islam],” the Awami League general secretary said at that time.

According to media reports in Kuwait, MP Papul confessed during interrogation by Kuwait security authorities and revealed the names of three Kuwait high officials who were involved in illegal visa trading and other shady financial dealings.

On June 6, the Lakshmipur MP was arrested by Kuwait’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) from his residence in Kuwait City.

The Bangladesh mission in Kuwait reported the matter to the Foreign Ministry in Dhaka.

“We know nothing officially from the Kuwait government and it’s hard to comment on this without an official response,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.

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