A criminal court in Kuwait has sentenced Bangladeshi MP Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul to four years in jail for trafficking human and laundering money.
Judge Abdullah Al Osman delivered the verdict on Thursday, according to the Kuwaiti media Al-Qabas and Al-Rai.
The court also jailed Major General Mazen Sheikh Mazem Al Jarrah, former assistant under-secretary of the interior ministry in Kuwait, and another Kuwaiti official for four years for abetting the Bangladeshi lawmaker’s unlawful work.
All the convicts have been fined 1.9 million Kuwaiti dinar each.
Two Kuwaiti MPs, Saadoun Hammad and Salah Khorshid, were Shahid’s co-accused in the trial.
They were charged with taking bribe from Shahid, but the court has acquitted them.
Shahid, the MP of Lakshmipur-2 seat, was arrested in Kuwait on Jun 6 last year.
Besides human trafficking and money laundering, the Kuwaiti prosecutors charged Shahid with torturing employees of his company, based on the complaints from five Bangladeshi nationals subjected to trafficking. The incident stirred a political furore in Kuwait.
Worker recruiter Shahid, who runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO, resides in Kuwait in line with the country’s Aliens Residence Law.
The Bangladesh MP confessed to bribing Kuwait officials and his statement has been published in the media.
Having travelled to Kuwait as a migrant worker, Shahid now owns a business empire there. He also has a sizable number of shares of NRB Commercial Bank, founded by expatriate Bangladeshi entrepreneurs.
His company Marafie Kuwaitia used to recruit cleaners but later he started other businesses in Kuwait. Shahid had a licence called ‘general trading and contracting’ which enabled him to run a business of many products ranging from children’s toys to antique carpet.
Shahid won the Laxmipur-2 seat in the 2018 election as an independent candidate. He also launched a successful bid to bring his wife Salina Islam to parliament as a reserved-seat MP.
Kuwait authorities have frozen his bank accounts. Bangladesh is also investigating him and his wife.