Lakshmipur MP Papul confessed to paying huge amount of money in bribe to the Kuwaiti officials
Kuwait authorities on Wednesday issued arrest warrants of two high ranking government officials in connection of bribery as Lakshmipur lawmaker Md Shahid Islam alias Papul faces 9-hour-long interrogation.
During interrogation, Papul reportedly confessed to have provided 1.1 million dinars by check to an official at the Ministry of Interior, one million dinars in cash to another official, in addition to “bags” of millions of dinars in cash to a third official, Kuwaiti media reported.
The prosecution charged them with receiving bribes in exchange for services which they were performing from their workplaces.
According to Arab Times, The first defendant, the in-charge in one of the ministries was issued a number of cheques with huge sums from the company from which the Bangladeshi MP works as a manager to a sister company.
The prosecution charged him for accepting bribes for breaching his duties but the accused denied the bribery charge and confirmed that these sums offered are in fact financial sums paid towards services rendered by his sister company for the benefit of the company in which Papul works.
The second defendant denied the charges against him that he had completed transactions for Papul through his relations with an officer in the Ministry of Interior along with some other officers.
Kuwaiti prosecution continues its investigations with Papul on the issue of human trafficking and money laundering, and has ordered his continued detention pending more investigations.
A source close to the matter told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anba, Papul faces several charges – human trafficking, money laundering, fraud related to employment of workers in his company, violating the residence law and bribery.
If pleaded guilty, according to Kuwaiti laws, Papul may face a penalty of 5 to 15 years' imprisonment and a fine.
However the source also told the newspaper, “Papul has denied all charges that have been filed against him except for ‘involvement in bribe’ since he has admitted that he was offering gifts and assisting his friends in what he called ‘several agencies’ and they in turn helped him complete the company’s transactions.”
The source added that the prosecution has summoned at least 20 employees of Papul’s firm, including the accountant, and listened to their statements regarding the payment of salaries of the company’s labour.
Regarding the defendant’s statements, the source stated that Papul mentioned during the investigation that he came to Kuwait in 1984 and has always respected the laws of the country.
He indicated he made friends with a number of Kuwaitis at different levels, but he did not deal with any of them in any suspicious activity.
Papul, an independent member of parliament elected from Lakshmipur 2 constituency, mentioned he and his wife are current parliament members of Bangladesh, and he runs four companies in Kuwait which are involved in providing cleaning services.
He added, he has 34 government contracts and is employing 9,000 workers through cleaning tenders.
Papul told the prosecutor, “While countries and local companies were unable to pay the salaries of their employees in recent months due to the corona pandemic, he paid the salaries of his workers during the months of March, April, and May, and provided them decent accommodation by renting 42 buildings.”
However, a Bangladeshi expats have given a rare glimpse of the grip of Papul on his compatriots, Gulf News reported.
The witness, Abdul Jabbar, said Papul was like a “mafia boss who demanded taxes from poor low-income workers,” who obeyed and paid payments to him.
“The accused’s men were imposing a ‘royalty’ on workers, at a value of 8 dinars per day,” Jabbar said.
Papul was arrested by Kuwaiti authorities on June 7, and is held in custody pending trial.
According to Al Qabas, Papul is a member of a three-man racket whose other members include another Bangladeshi MP, whose wife is also an MP from the seats reserved for women.
It added that the trio occupied sensitive positions in three major companies that brought over 20,000 Bangladeshi workers into Kuwait in exchange for large sums of money believed to be in excess of 50 million dinars.