27 October Wednesday

Kuwait's Top Interior Ministry Official Suspended Over Bribery Charges

Anas YassinUpdated: Wednesday Jul 1, 2020

 Manama: A top official in Kuwait interior ministry has been suspended over his alleged financial transaction with Bangladeshi visa trade, prominent local daily reported.

Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Anas Al-Saleh on Monday suspended the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Interior Major General Mazen Al-Jarrah, it said.

The move came after the investigation into the case of the Bangladeshi parliamentarian who was remanded on charges of human trafficking, visa trading, bribery and money laundering, which indicated that the alleged undersecretary has given nod to several transactions in exchange for receiving money as bribe, when he was an undersecretary for citizenship, passports and residence affairs, Al Rai newspaper reported.

Earlier, after an appeal from the Public Prosecution, Maryam Al Aqeel, the Minister for Social Affairs has ordered the suspension of a senior official in the Public Manpower Authority for three months for his alleged involvement in human-trafficking.

Sources said earlier that the number of Kuwaiti officials under investigation has risen to seven.

The alleged Bangladeshi Member of Parliament, Mohammad Shahid Islam and another accused have remanded in the central prison for 21 days on June 26.

Investigations revealed that the Bangladeshi lawmaker has an annual net profit of about twenty lakhs dinars ($6.5 million), after all his bribes and gifts he spends in exchange for facilitating his work to bring in workers from Bangladesh.

Sources revealed that he has four companies in Kuwait, working in general trade, contracting and cleaning of streets and buildings with 9,000 cleaning workers. He had 50 lakhs Kuwaiti dinars in assets in Kuwait, the report read.

Kuwait authority said a marathon investigation has started to tackle the culprits behind the visa trade and human trafficking, which booked the MP. According to reports, the custody was extended on June 29 in view of the pending trial. According to Al Qabas daily, the suspect is part of a three-member racket whose other members include another Bangladeshi MP, and his wife who is also an MP. Two of the accused had been issued with a warrant of arrest, but they are out of the view.

The Al Qabas report added that the trio occupied sensitive positions in three major companies that brought over 20,000 Bangladeshi workers to Kuwait in exchange for more than 50 million dinars ($163 million).

Quoting official sources, Al Qabas daily said that over the past two months, a number of government agencies have extended more than four government contracts to the companies of Mohammad Shahid Islam.

The daily reported, citing official sources, that the Public Prosecution seized documents and contracts from within the Bangladeshi lawmaker’s company, under pre-judgement attachment since June 6. A document showed 6,00,000 Kuwaiti dinars said to have been obtained by an agent of a businessman without knowing the reason and without an agreement between him and the Bangladeshi MP.

Kuwaiti authorities have enforced a freeze on the bank accounts of the Bangladeshi MP and his company.

During interrogation, Islam reportedly confessed to have provided 11 lakhs dinars by cheque to an official at the Ministry of Interior, 10 lakhs dinars in cash to another official, in addition to millions of dinars in cash to a third official, Kuwaiti media reported.

 

Prosecutors heard testimonies from many Bangladeshi migrant workers who had been brought into Kuwait by the accused for money. 


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