Details of human trafficking in Kuwait which saw the arrest of an MP from Bangladesh suggests that the scandal is not simply a case of one single rogue lawmaker. It now seems that Dhaka’s very own ambassador to the Gulf state is embroiled in criminal activity normally associated with the criminal underworld.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen was forced to issue a warning against the country’s Ambassador to Kuwait, SM Abul Kalam, for his alleged involvement in human trafficking, which saw the arrest of Mohammad Shahid Islam in June for a host of offences.
Momen warned earlier this week that Bangladesh would not spare its ambassador if Kuwait were to bring charges against him over alleged human trafficking. “The government maintains zero tolerance against money laundering and human trafficking.” Punishment is a must, no matter which party they belong to, Momen is reported saying.
Kalam’s appointment to Kuwait is said to be coming to an end this month which will mean that the ambassador will return to Bangladesh, Momen said. “We have finalised the next Ambassador for Kuwait.”
On 6 June, Kuwait’s Criminal Investigation Department arrested Bangladesh lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam Papul. Kuwaiti prosecutors charged him with human trafficking, money laundering, and exploiting his compatriot workers, Gulf News reported at the time. His arrest came after testimonies of five Bangladeshis, who confirmed that they had paid amounts of up to 3,000 dinars ($9,743) in exchange for coming to Kuwait, and that they were also paying annual sums for renewing their residency visas.
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.
Kuwaiti media has also accused him of trading visas and siphoning off money to the US for laundering. One source reported that the suspect is a member of a three-man racket whose other members include a Bangladeshi MP, whose wife is also an MP.