Kazi Shahid Islam alias Papul
Kazi Shahid Islam alias PapulFile photo

Bangladeshi lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam has revealed that MPs and top officials of Kuwait were involved in his human trafficking and money laundering activities.

Some of the top officials of Kuwait government even used to take bribes from him.

According to the investigators, the Bangladeshi MP transferred millions of dinars to European and Gulf banks recently after he had learned that his name appeared in the file of Kuwaiti investigators.

The Lakshmipur member of parliament, widely known as Papul, made the revelation during interrogations by the Kuwaiti authorities, reports Kuwait’s English-language daily Arab Times.

Papul is now facing interrogation after he was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department in Kuwait on 6 June.

The Kuwaiti prosecutors’ investigation of Papul, charged with human trafficking, money laundering, and exploiting his compatriot workers, revealed he had financial dealings with two current deputies and a former deputy in Kuwait’s National Assembly, in addition to a controversial former officer, Kuwaiti media reported.

Al Rai newspapers quoted unidentified sources close to investigations as saying that the information revealed so far was just the “tip of the iceberg”, in the case, which is expected to involve a number of controversial officials.

The Bangladeshi MP reportedly admitted that he had paid huge amounts to a senior official at the Kuwaiti interior ministry to facilitate his business there. “The Bangladeshi MP said he met the official once, and then dealings had been finalised through a middleman,” sources told Al Rai.

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His confessed that he had provided financial sums as bribe to 10 people – some of whom are now in retirement while others are in top positions of the Kuwaiti government agencies. He even mentioned names of Kuwaiti MPs involved in his racket of human trafficking, according to Tuesday’s Arab Times.

During the investigation, Papul said that he had handed an employee of Kuwait’s ministry of interior an amount of one million Kuwaiti dinars in cash in exchange of bringing Bangladeshi workers to the Gulf country.

According to the investigators, the Bangladeshi MP transferred millions of dinars to European and Gulf banks recently after he had learned that his name appeared in the file of Kuwaiti investigators.

The prosecution heard testimonies of dozens of Bangladeshis, who confirmed that they had paid amounts of up to 3,000 dinars in return for coming to Kuwait, and that they were also paying annual sums for renewing their residency visas.

According to Al Qabas, the suspect 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.

Lawyer Nasser Al-Hasban, who represents Papul, demanded that the accused be released on a guarantee that he is an MP in Bangladesh and will not flee.

Luxury cars

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, Papul dismissed as “false and imaginary” allegations that he trafficked people to Kuwait.

Kuwaiti media also accused him of trading visas and siphoning off money to the US for laundering.

Papul 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 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 the country in exchange for large sums of money believed to be in excess of 50 million dinars ($163 million).

The MP reportedly channelled the money to the US to set up a company in partnership with an American national, according to the report.

He runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO.

The businesses of the company with presence in Kuwait, Oman and Jordan range from waste management, cleaning and janitorial services to security solutions, heavy equipment rental and engineering.