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Dhaka Tribune

Human trafficking: MP Papul had financial dealings with Kuwaiti MPs

Papul-led racket that include another Bangladeshi lawmaker made in excess of $163m by sending 20,000 workers, reports Kuwaiti media

Update : 15 Jun 2020, 08:16 PM

Kuwaiti prosecutors’ investigation with Lakshmipur lawmaker Md Shahid Islam alias 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, Gulf News reported quoting Kuwaiti media.

Al Rai newspaper 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.

In yet another Kuwaiti newspaper report it is stated that Papul is a member of a three-man racket whose other members include another parliament member, whose wife is also a parliament member from the seats reserved for women.

Al Qabas, the daily, also added that the trio occupied higher 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 $163 million.

Papul reportedly channeled 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 to heavy equipment rental to engineering.

Papul, member of parliament elected from Lakshmipur 2 constituency, was arrested by the gulf state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on June 7 from his residence in Kuwait City.

Papul 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 finalized through a middleman,” sources told Al Rai.

The prosecution heard testimonies of at least 11 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.

Suspicious money transactions

An UK-based Bengali newspaper Janomot reported that, Kuwait authorities has seized cheque books and found evidence of huge money transactions in the bank account of Papul during a search.

A Bangladeshi newspaper has reported that authorities also arrested Murtaza Mamun, a close associate of Papul, and then came to know about the money transaction in his account.

On information given by Murtaza, Kuwait police, with Papul, conducted a search at his parking lot in Mushriq area of Kuwait. Police sized cheque books of several banks from his cars.

They found suspicious money transactions in Kuwait, Bangladesh and Canada.

Luxury cars

Among the complaints submitted against the suspected Lakshmipur 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.

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

In February, Papul dismissed as “false and imaginary” allegations that he trafficked people to Kuwait. He told reporters, “He was not even involved in manpower export, let alone human trafficking.”

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