09 Jun 2020
Due to an alleged involvement in human trafficking and money laundering, Kuwait officials have confirmed that a Bangladeshi lawmaker has been arrested. Kuwaiti Public Prosecution ordered remanding MP, Mohammad Shahid Islam, pending investigation, after being referred by the residence investigation department, which arrested him in the Musharraf area on Saturday.
The prosecution charged him with human trafficking, money laundering, and exploiting his compatriot workers after hearing testimonies of five Bangladeshis, who confirmed that they had paid amounts of up to 3,000 dinars in exchange for coming to Kuwait, and that they were also paying annual sums for renewing their residency visas.
Ambassador of Bangladesh in Kuwait, SM Abul Kalam, told Al Rai newspaper that he had heard the news of the arrest of MP Islam and that he was communicating with the Kuwaiti authorities in this regard, explaining, “There are reports about allegations of human trafficking against the MP.”
Bangladeshi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abu Al Kalam Abdul Moamen, said the Ambassador of Bangladesh in Kuwait informed him of the arrest of the MP in a case brought up because of his business there.
“We do not know anything officially,” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mohammad Shahriar Alam. “Our embassy is checking with the local authorities. Even a convict is entitled to consular support from the homeland under the law,” he said.
Among the complaints submitted against the suspected Bangladeshi MP, is that he is believed to have provided five luxury cars as bribes to government officials in Kuwait, so that he could obtain contracts for the company he runs there.
In February, Islam, an MP from Laxmipur, dismissed as “false and imaginary” allegations that he trafficked humans to Kuwait.
Kuwaiti media have also accused him of trading visas and siphoning off money to the US for laundering.
Islam told media outlets in his country he was not even involved in manpower export, let alone human trafficking.
According to Al Qabas, the suspect is a member of a three-man racket whose other members include a 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 the country in exchange for large sums of money believed to be in excess of 50 million dinars ($163 million).
By Samir Salama, Gulf News, 8 June 2020
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