Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said Kuwaiti authorities detained Bangladeshi lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam Papul to face money laundering and human trafficking charges as a "local resident" of the Middle Eastern country as he was on a visit there without using the diplomatic or official passport".
"They (Kuwaiti authority) arrested him (Shahid) not as a Bangladesh MP, rather as a Kuwaiti businessman" as he was engaged in business there for nearly three decades," he said as approached for comments on Bangladesh stance on Shahid, who was elected to parliament from a Laxmipur constituency.
Momen said Kuwait was yet to inform Bangladesh officially about Papul's status despite media reports that he was arrested in Kuwait one and half months ago on human trafficking and money laundering charges but "we asked Kuwait Ambassador to Bangladesh to inform us about the matter officially".
"Steps will be taken as per our laws, if the Kuwait government informs the Bangladesh government officially (allegations against Shahids)," he journalists adding that Bangladesh would not spare anybody if found involved such criminal charges.
Momen said: "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shows zero tolerance against money laundering and human trafficking . . . no matter which party they (money launders and traffickers) belong to, punishment is a must even if they belong to Awami League".
Momen said Shahid, elected member of the parliament from Laxmipur-2 constituency as an independent candidate.
Kuwait's Criminal Investigation Department arrested Shahid June 6 and according to Arab Times, Shahid denied taking any money from anyone and told Kuwait's public prosecution that he instead was helping his countrymen to earn a living.
The Kuwaiti public prosecution, however, ordered continued detention of him pending further investigation.
Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), meanwhile, launched an inquiry against the lawmaker over allegations of amassing Tk 1,400 crore by human trafficking.
The ACC sought Shahid and his family members income tax documents from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and asked the Election Commission to submit the electoral affidavits of Shahid and his wife Selina Islam, also a lawmaker from a reserve seat for women.