The Bangladeshi MP is held in custody in Kuwait pending trial. Image Credit: File photo

Abu Dhabi: Bangladeshi witnesses have given a rare glimpse of the grip of Bangladeshi MP, Mohammad Shahid Islam, charged with human trafficking and money laundering, on his compatriot workers, Kuwaiti media reported.

The witnesses said the MP was like a mafia boss who demanded ‘taxes’ from poor, low-income workers, who obeyed and paid payments to him, Al Rai reported.

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

The witness added he was told before traveling to Kuwait that his job will require working eight hours a day and that he will earn 140 dinars per month, but he discovered upon arrival that the shift would last 16 hours a day and that the monthly salary would be 100 dinars, and he was asked to do various jobs.

“Two men, Mahboub and Aman, were collecting the money for Shahid Islam,” the witness said before leaving to his home country.

The Bangladeshi MP is held in custody pending trial.

During interrogation, Shahid Islam reportedly confessed to have provided 1.1 million dinars ($3.58 million) by check to an official at the Ministry of Interior, one million dinars ($3.25 million) in cash to another official, in addition to “bags” of millions of dinars in cash to a third official, Kuwaiti media reported.

The Minister of Social Affairs, Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Maryam Al Aqeel, issued a decision to suspend a senior official in the Public Manpower Authority for three months, at the request of the Public Prosecution regarding the investigations conducted with him in the case of trafficking in persons.

Prosecutors heard testimonies of 12 Bangladeshi workers brought in Kuwait by the accused from Bangladesh for money.

Quoting sources close to prosecution investigation, Al Rai reported the Bangladeshi MP made confessions against a director in one of the ministries, and said that he was attending at his cleaning company, demanding that all Kuwaiti employees be dismissed before his arrival, so that no one would recognise him.

Kuwaiti media have also accused the Bangladeshi MP of trading visas and siphoning off money to the US for laundering.

According to Al Qabas, the suspect is a member of a three-man racket whose other members include another Bangladeshi MP, whose wife is also an MP from the seats reserved for women.

It added that the trio occupied sensitive positions in three major companies that brought over 20,000 Bangladeshi workers into the country in exchange for large sums of money believed to be in excess of 50 million dinars ($163 million).

The MP reportedly channelled the money to the US to set up a company in partnership with an American national, according to the report.

He runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO.

The businesses of the company with presence in Kuwait, Oman and Jordan range from waste management, cleaning and janitorial services to security solutions to heavy equipment rental to engineering.