If someone refused to work as per certain conditions, MP Papul used to lock them up in a separate room and beat them cruelly. The lawmaker and his men used to shout at them in vulgar language and, even, would not give them any food.
The above experience has been narrated by Jamalpur's Apel Mahmud, a Kuwait returnee, who testified in a Kuwait court against Bangladeshi lawmaker Kazi Shahid Islam Papul alias Kazi Papul arrested by Kuwait CID on charges of trafficking money and humans.
At least 11 migrant workers testified against the parliamentarian in the Kuwait court. The Kuwait CID detained them and sent them back to Bangladesh after recording their statements.
They returned to Bangladesh on Monday midnight by a special flight of Qatar Airlines. The Business Standard reached them first and interviewed four of them who described their miserable life in Kuwait.
"Without food for several days, we became compelled to go back to work but upon a condition of paying him 300 Kuwaiti dinars per year," Shah Alam, who was also a witness, from Bhaluka of Mymensingh said.
"We used to earn 13 dinars a day by doing cleaning and construction. But Kazi Papul's company – Marafee Kuwaitia – used to take away at least 10 dinars from that money. As a result, we could not even earn 90 dinars a month. How could we pay him 300 dinars every year?"
All the 11 Bangladeshi expatriates brought allegations, against the MP, of human trafficking, taking extra money to renew visas every year and extorting a share of their daily earnings.
Shah Alam also said he gave Tk7.5 lakh to Rashed from Tangail, a man very close to Kazi Papul, to go to Kuwait.
"Papul's company Supervisor Samad from Brahmanbaria and Mahbub from Cumilla would take away money from my daily income. If we protested, they would torture us," Shah Alam was weeping.
He said the Kuwait CID arrested Kazi Papul two days after detaining them. "The CID told us we would be given back our lost money." We, 12 expatriates, were kept in a room from where one escaped. Later, they were taken to a court.
Shah Alam said they had no job during a four-month lockdown in that country and none from Papul's company went to see them, nor did they give them any food.
Md Shohagh, another witness from Noakhali's Chatkhil upazila, said he paid Tk7 lakh two years ago to some Monir in Kazi Papul's office in Dhaka's Fakirapul area.
"We were supposed to work 12 hours daily for 140 dinars per month. But I had to work 16 hours there," he said, adding that Papul's men would come to take money from his income too.
When asked if the Kuwait CID made arrangements to get the refund of their extorted money, he said, "They gave us 200-250 dinars when we boarded the plane and said the money was paid from the company."
On June 8, Kazi Shahid Islam Papul, a ruling party lawmaker from Laxmipur-2 constituency, was arrested by the Kuwait CID. Allegations run rife that he did nothing in his own name. He was involved in human trafficking through various sub-agents.
There are more allegations that he used to do human trafficking behind supplying cleaning and security workers in Kuwait. In doing the illegal work, he would also keep his information secret in all organisations he dealt with.