Bangladesh parliament revokes membership of Shahid after Kuwait conviction

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-02-22 18:22:54 BdST


Laxmipur lawmaker Kazi Shahid Islam alias Papul has lost his seat in parliament in light of his conviction for money laundering and human trafficking in Kuwait.

Parliament Secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan said a gazette has been issued to declare his Laxmipur-2 seat vacant, effective from the day the verdict was announced.

The gazette stated that Shahid Islam had been stripped of his parliamentary seat in line with Article 66 of the Constitution.

Article 66 provides that a person shall be disqualified for election as, or for being, a member of parliament who has been, on conviction for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

Shahid was arrested in Kuwait on Jun 6 last year.

Besides human trafficking and money laundering, the Kuwaiti prosecutors charged him with torturing employees of his company, based on the complaints from five Bangladeshi nationals subjected to trafficking. The incident stirred a political furore in Kuwait.

The Election Commission has received a copy of the gazette, said its Secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker.

"It will be presented to the commission after a decision is made on the next course of action,” he said.

A fresh election to the Laxmipur-2 seat must be held within 90 days from the date of the vacancy declaration in line with electoral law, according to him.

"After the letter of the Parliament Secretariat is tabled at the commission meeting, we will discuss the issue as a whole. It will take us 40-45 days to hold the election. An updated voter list will be released on March 2 and the election schedule will be announced after that,” said Humayun.

Worker recruiter Shahid runs the Marafie Kuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO.

The Bangladesh MP confessed to bribing Kuwaiti officials and his statement has been published in the media.

Having travelled to Kuwait as a migrant worker, Shahid now owns a business empire there. He also has a sizable number of shares of NRB Commercial Bank, founded by expatriate Bangladeshi entrepreneurs.

His company Marafie Kuwaitia used to recruit cleaners but later he started other businesses in Kuwait. Shahid had a licence called ‘general trading and contracting’ which enabled him to run a business of many products ranging from children’s toys to antique carpet.

Shahid won the election in 2018 as an independent candidate. He also launched a successful bid to bring his wife Salina Islam to parliament as a reserved-seat MP.

Kuwait authorities have frozen his bank accounts. Bangladesh is also investigating him and his wife.