Laxmipur lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam used to earn around two million dinars a year from his manpower business in Kuwait, investigators found.
The prosecution came up with the findings after interrogating a number of victims and associates of Shahid alias Kazi Papul, leading Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported yesterday.
The prosecution listened to the statements of three employees — two are directors of Shahid’s manpower company and the other is an officer at the rank of colonel in the interior ministry.
“Investigations revealed that the annual net profits of the Bangladeshi MP are estimated at about two million dinars, after deducting all the money spent on others from bribes, sums and gifts in exchange for facilitating his work by bringing in workers from Bangladesh,” the report said.
Shahid is accused of human trafficking and money laundering. Till Thursday, five were arrested in this connection.
Among the five, three were Kuwaiti officials. Four more were detained for interrogation on Thursday.
Of the three officials, one is an employee in the Public Authority for Manpower which is the government agency concerned with labour affairs in Kuwait.
The official’s sister has a manpower company and has a deal with Shahid to bring workers to Kuwait from Bangladesh.
The prosecution on Thursday listened to the owner of the Kuwaiti manpower company but she denied any illegal involvement.
Shahid pleaded innocent after he was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department in Kuwait on June 6, but he gradually confessed to the charges.
The four were interrogated based on the information that he paid large sums of money to high-placed officials, including a security official, former and serving Kuwaiti lawmakers.
He told the investigators that certain Kuwaiti quarters within the government were involved in residency trade which paved the entry of Bangladeshi workers to the Arab country in exchange for money.
Shahid and a Kuwaiti citizen co-own a big recruitment company named Marafie Kuwaitia.
He is accused of charging each worker, mostly Bangladeshi ones, up to 3,000 dinars for sending them to Kuwait.
The workers also paid huge sums to the company for renewing their residency every year.
Following a complaint filed on February 16, Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission opened an enquiry into an allegation that MP Shahid amassed Tk 1,400 crore by trafficking people to Kuwait and laundered the money to different countries.
Also in February, Kuwaiti media reported that three Bangladeshis were operating a human trafficking racket in the Middle Eastern country.
On February 12, a report in the Arab Times said one of the three was a “member of parliament in Bangladesh”.
According to the report, the trio “occupied sensitive positions” in three major companies that brought over 20,000 Bangladeshi workers to Kuwait in exchange for an amount believed to be more than Tk 1,391.6 crore.