Prosecutors ask for lifting immunity from the MPs
Kuwait public prosecution has revealed that two MPs were involved in Laxmipur lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Papul’s human trafficking and money laundering activities.
Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi and Salah Abdulredha Khurshid, two members of Kuwait parliament, even used to take bribes from Papul.
The public prosecution addressed to the National Assembly, regarding the lifting of immunity from Hammad and Khurshid, in the case of human trafficking in which Papul is accused.
Papul, an independent member of parliament elected from Lakshmipur 2 constituency, made the revelation during interrogations by the Kuwaiti authorities, reports Kuwait’s English-language daily Arab Times.
Papul made confessions of providing financial sums to Hammad and Khurshid in exchange to facilitate transactions to recruit workers from Bangladesh by obtaining exceptions from the relevant government ministries, reports Arab Times.
According to the public prosecution, during supplementary investigations on June 16, Papul revealed that he paid money to a number of people to facilitate his transactions in the state.
Hammad was given 50,000 dinars in cash in his residence in the South Surra area, in order to facilitate his transitions and complete his commercial procedures in the country.
Khurshid was given 370,000 dinars in cash in his residence in installments, in exchange for bringing in Bangladeshi workers, and excluding him to obtain these approvals, and also gave other people some of them to facilitate procedures in the official authorities, and others as loans and aid.
A Syrian national, who is a deputy general manager of a company, with consent of Papul, bought Bangladeshi labor where Hammad accepted numbers of cheques given by him for approving these transactions with a financial amount of 150,000 dinars, knowing that the last one was a former companion, and left the country in 2017.
The investigation indicated that it was an organized gang that trafficked people with the intention of material gain consisting of both a Kuwait person (a first accused) and Papul (a second defendant) using a company owned by the first defendant, to recruit and bring in workers from Bangladesh by fraud in order to obtain cash from each of them ranging between 2500 and 2700 dinars in exchange for employment contracts in Kuwait to work for the company.
Although the company was closed due to legal violations, the workers arrived in Kuwait and discovered that the contracts were fake and they were forcibly employed in another company owned by the second defendant.
The workers were forced to work against their will for long working hours in inhumane working conditions without paying their wages or providing adequate housing according to what was stipulated. Papul attacked those who objected and threatened them to register false absconding cases against them.
Some workers of the two companies were used as witnesses where all of them decided the validity of what was included in the investigations. They added that they were brought in through a travel agency owned by Papul.
The prosecution added that on June 13, the residence of Papul was searched along with the company owned by him which was in partnership with another which resulted in finding of bank documents and cheques issued in the name of people, some of them working as officials in government ministries.
During investigation, it was confirmed that the accused Papul has money collected in fraudulent ways, intentionally hiding some of its sources which he collected from the victims of human trafficking crimes. He gave bribes to government employees to facilitate his transactions in the official authorities.
By questioning Papul, he initiated the investigation at the beginning by denying all the charges levied against him, and denied his link to the incident which was under investigation.
After searching his residence and company owned by him and others, Papul admitted during investigation based on the documents that he is the actual manager of the company and that the money shown in the form of the cheques he paid to some employees in government agencies/ministries which was with the intention of speeding up the procedures that are not in violation of the law.
He also deals with a travel office located in Bangladesh to bring workers in exchange for cash which they pay and these sums are dedicated immediately to charity which are not deposited in his bank accounts.
He is not responsible for all the facts related to the employment of workers such as collecting daily sums from them during work, as well as not responsible for the workers housing as this responsibility lies with the company's supervisors the labor housing.
Papul was arrested by Kuwait authorities on June 7 in Kuwait City on charges of human trafficking and money laundering.
Kuwait also suspended a major general in connection with his alleged link with human trafficking and the visa trading business of Papul.
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.