Five Bangladeshi expatriates testified against the Lakshmipur-2 lawmaker before a Kuwait court on Sunday
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is unlikely to take any action regarding the arrest of Bangladeshi lawmaker Md Shahid Islam until Kuwait authorities officially respond to their query about the matter.
Bangladeshi Ambassador to Kuwait SM Abul Kalam told The Business Standard that they did not get an official letter regarding the arrest, although the diplomatic mission had enquired about the MP's alleged involvement in the charges brought against him.
"Once we get the official reply, we will move for further action. The entire city has been in a shutdown for the last three months. So, it is difficult to move for the lawmaker's bail or any other action," he added.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also said they would take necessary steps after receiving word of the arrest from Kuwaiti authorities.
"It is a shameful situation indeed, but we also have to know the details about the matter," he added.
Shahid Islam, also known as Kazi Papul, landed in jail over human trafficking and money laundering charges on Sunday, a day after being detained by the Kuwait Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Five Bangladeshi expatriates testified against the member of parliament from the Lakshmipur-2 constituency before a Kuwait court on Sunday.
In their testimony, the expatriates confirmed paying up to 3,000 dinars (almost Tk8.28 lakh) to Papul.
They allegedly paid him annually in exchange for renewing their residency permits, reports Arab Times.
After hearing the testimonies, the court denied Papul's bail plea and then sent him to jail.
Papul's wife, lawmaker Selina Islam, refused to comment on her husband's arrest.
Papul was arrested from his rented villa in the Mushraf residential area in Kuwait, said Mukhai Ali, president of Bangladesh Business Association in Kuwait.
Prior to the arrest, some media outlets in Kuwait had run reports saying that three Bangladeshis were operating a human trafficking racket in the country.
A report published by the Arab Times on February 12 said one of the three was a "member of parliament in Bangladesh".
The report added that the three Bangladeshis allegedly "occupied sensitive positions" in three major companies that brought more than 20,000 Bangladeshi workers to Kuwait in exchange for over Tk1,391.6 crore.
A day later, the Arab Times, citing Arabic daily Al-Qabas, reported that a Bangladeshi MP had allegedly gifted five expensive cars to senior government officials to "facilitate the company he runs to get several government contracts."
Citing sources, the report mentioned that the wife of the Bangladeshi MP is also a member of parliament.
The report also said the Bangladeshi began working in Kuwait as a supervisor of cleaning workers in one of the major companies and went on to become a partner in the company and managed the company to his liking.
Some of the affected workers had documented video and audio proof to show they paid money to the company's employees to help them transfer their residence permit to other companies, the Arab Times added in its report.