Lakshmipur 2 MP Kazi Papul arrested in Kuwait on human trafficking, money laundering charges

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Desk report, June 07: Lakshmipur 2 constituency lawmaker (MP) Mohammad Shahid Islam, widely known as Kazi Papul, has been arrested in Kuwait by the country’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on charges of human trafficking and money laundering.According to several sources from the Bangladeshi community there, Shahid was arrested from his home in Mushrif residential area around 9:30pm (Kuwait time) on Saturday.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune on Sunday afternoon, Bangladesh Ambassador in Kuwait SM Abul Kalam said: “I have heard the news this morning that CID arrested him, but I am yet to get any official confirmation.”

“There are some reports of human trafficking allegations against him [Shahid Islam],” the ambassador added.

According to sources, after the coronavirus outbreak in Kuwait, the intelligence agencies arrested more than 100 people from different countries for their involvement in human trafficking and money laundering. The name of Shahid Islam was also in that list as he has some big businesses in Kuwait.

The independent lawmaker has been staying in Kuwait since late March, according to sources.

However, Selina Islam, his wife and an independent reserve seat lawmaker herself, claimed the news of his arrest was nothing but a rumour.

“This is a rumour. Some people are spreading this on social media,” she asserted.

Reached for comment, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mohammed Shahriar Alam said: “We do not know anything officially. Our embassy is checking with the local authority.”

“Even a convict is entitled to receive consular support from the home country by law. It’s unpleasant,” he told Dhaka Tribune over the phone on Sunday afternoon

In February, different media outlets had reported on allegations against Shahid for human trafficking to Kuwait.

According to media reports in Kuwait, security authorities in the country were looking for a Bangladeshi parliamentarian who was allegedly involved in illegal visa trading.

The parliamentarian is believed to have gifted five expensive cars to senior government officials in Kuwait to get government contracts for the company he runs there, the reports said.

At the time, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen called the reports fake, saying that the Bangladeshi mission in Kuwait did not inform them about anything like that.

An Anti-Corruption Commission investigation against Kazi Papul is also underway on allegations of corruption, including amassing illegal wealth through human trafficking.

Al-Qabas, a daily which quoted the Ministry of Interior of Kuwait, reported that an unidentified Bangladeshi was arrested in February based on allegations of money laundering and human trafficking.

He is said to be a member of a three-member gang while the other two fled the country sensing impending trouble.

The trio allegedly occupied sensitive positions in three major companies that brought more than 20,000 Bangladeshi menial workers to Kuwait in exchange for large sums of money believed to be more than 50 million dinars.

The unidentified Bangladeshi disclosed the name of a Bangladeshi lawmaker during interrogation, the daily reported.

Mohammad Shahid Islam is a partner, managing director, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Marafie Kuwaitia Group, which operates in sectors such as engineering, contracting, logistics and facility management in Kuwait, Oman, and Jordan.

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