Two Kuwaiti lawmakers indicted for money laundering in case linked to Bangladesh MP

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Kuwaiti Public prosecutor will most likely demand that parliamentary immunity of the two lawmakers be lifted, so that they can be interrogated.
Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Two Kuwaiti lawmakers have been indicted on allegations of money laundering and aiding and abetting Bangladeshi member of parliament Mohammad Shahid Islam in his corrupt practises. The duo has been remanded in custody on charges of human trafficking as well, prosecution investigation revealed.

A source close to the investigation told Al Qabas newspaper that Kuwaiti Public prosecutor would demand that parliamentary immunity of the two lawmakers be lifted, so that they can be interrogated.

Maryam Al Aqeel, the Minister for Social Affairs and Minister of State for Economic Affairs, has ordered the suspension of a senior official in the Public Manpower Authority for three months, at the request of Public Prosecution, in view of an investigation conducted against him for his alleged involvement in human trafficking.

Human trafficking

According to Al Qabas, the suspect is part of a three-member racket whose other members include another Bangladeshi MP, whose wife is also an MP from a seat reserved for women.
“Investigations revealed that two members of the Kuwaiti parliament were involved in the case involving a Bangladeshi member of parliament,” the source said.

Kuwait’s Public Prosecution has ordered Mohammad Shahid Islam and another accused to be taken into custody on charges of human trafficking and money laundering and jailed for 21 days in the central prison.

Prosecutors also ordered the custody of a director at the manpower authority and an official at the Ministry of Interior be extended pending trial.

A businesswoman was released on bail for 2,000 Kuwaiti dinars Dh23,855), Al Rai newspaper reported.

Marathon investigation

Investigations revealed that the Bangladeshi lawmaker has an annual net profit of about two million dinars, after all his bribes and the money he used to spend on gifts in exchange for facilitating his work to bring in workers from Bangladesh.

Kuwait’s Public Prosecution is continuing its marathon investigation into the case involving the Bangladeshi lawmaker.

A source familiar with the investigations told Al Qabas that arrest warrants were issued against two of the accused, but they have so far managed to abscond.

The source said that one of them, a Kuwaiti official, had obtained a cheque for one million dinars through his dealings with the Bangladeshi lawmaker, to employ Bangladeshi workers in government agencies. 
“Therefore, it is paramount for prosecutors to know the details of these transactions,” the source said.

Band accounts frozen

The source revealed that Public Prosecution has seized documents and contracts from the Bangladeshi MP’s company premises since June 6. A document showed 600,000 Kuwaiti dinars were obtained by an agent of a businessman without any formal agreement between him and the Bangladeshi member of parliament.

The accused runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO.

The prime accused, Islam, had five million dinars in assets in Kuwait.

Kuwaiti authorities have also imposed a freeze on the bank accounts of Islam his company to prevent him from moving his assets beyond the jurisdiction of Kuwait courts.

Earlier, witnesses said the Bangladeshi MP would act like a mafia boss, demanding ‘taxes’ from the poor and low-income workers, Al Rai reported.

Travel ban

“The accused’s men imposed a ‘royalty’ on workers, at a value of 8 dinars per day,” a witness said.

During interrogation, Islam reportedly confessed to have provided 1.1 million dinars by cheque to an official at the Ministry of Interior, one million dinars in cash to another government official, in addition to “bags” of millions of dinars in cash to a third official.

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