• Saturday, Aug 15, 2020
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Momen: No one involved in trafficking, money laundering will be spared

  • Published at 03:15 pm July 7th, 2020
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen
File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The foreign minister said the Kuwait government is yet to inform anything officially about Papul

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said the government will not spare anybody if they are found to be involved in human trafficking and money laundering.

“The government maintains zero tolerance against money laundering and human trafficking,” he said, adding that punishment is a must, regardless of the party they belong to.

The Foreign Minister made the remarks while talking to reporters at his office, reports UNB.

Responding to a question on Mohammad Shahid Islam Papul, the Lakshmipur 2 constituency lawmaker, the Foreign Minister said steps will be taken as per the laws of the land if the Kuwait government informs the Bangladesh government officially. 

On June 6, Kuwait's Criminal Investigation Department arrested Papul on charges of human trafficking, visa trading, and money laundering. 

On June 20, the lawmaker from Lakshmipur 2 constituency (independent), landed at the central prison of Kuwait.

The foreign minister said the Kuwait government is yet to inform anything officially about Papul.

Dr Momen said the government is trying to stop human trafficking and money laundering.

He said MP Papul did not go to Kuwait using the government passport and he had been doing business in Kuwait for over 29 years. He is the managing director and CEO of a company there.

The Kuwait government arrested him not as an MP of Bangladesh but as a businessman of Kuwait, said the foreign minister, adding that he is probably a local resident of Kuwait.

Asked about allegations against Bangladesh Ambassador to Kuwait SM Abul Kalam, Dr Momen said his contractual appointment ends this month and he will come back to Bangladesh. 

“We have finalized the next Ambassador for Kuwait,” he added. 

The foreign minister said the government will look into it if the Kuwait government brings any allegation against the ambassador. 

The public prosecutor of Kuwait had approached the Central Bank to freeze the bank accounts of Mohammad Shahid Islam. 

The financial balance of the company amounts to about 5 million Kuwait dinars, including 3 million dinars as the company’s capital. 

Earlier, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sought the income tax documents of Papul, his family, and his sister-in-law from the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

Mohammad Salauddin, deputy director of ACC, sought the documents from NBR in connection with the lawmaker’s alleged involvement in money laundering and accumulation of illegal wealth.

Besides, it also served a notice to the Election Commission to get the electoral affidavit of MP Papul and his wife Selina Islam. 

“The ACC investigation against MP Shahid and his family is going on and the organization will issue letters to different organizations seeking information about the MP which is a routine work. 

“As far as I know, restrictions have been imposed on MP Shahid's family over going outside the country,” said an official at the ACC.

The ACC earlier requested the Special Branch of Police seeking restriction on MP Shahid and his family’s foreign travel. 

Earlier, on June 9, the ACC served notices to MP Shahid Islam Papul and his family members, seeking their wealth statements.

ACC Assistant Director M Salahuddin served the notices to Shahid, his wife lawmaker Selina Islam, their daughter Kazi Wafa Islam, and Selina’s sister Jemin Akter. 

They were asked to submit their copies of passports, national identity cards, TINs, and income tax returns within 15 days.

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