Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 29 January : A Kuwait court on Thursday jailed Mohammad Shahid Islam, an independent lawmaker for Lakshmipur-2 in Bangladesh, for four years and fined him about 1.9 million Kuwaiti dinars after finding him guilty in a case filed on charges of bribery.
A senior Bangladesh diplomat confirmed the verdict with reference to the information received from the Bangladesh embassy in Kuwait.
The court handed down a similar sentence to detained former assistant under-secretary of Kuwait’s interior ministry Major General Sheikh Mazen Al Jarrah for receiving bribe from Shahid Islam, well-known as Papul in Bangladesh, according to Al Qabas, an Arabic newspaper published from Kuwait.
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The court, however, acquitted Kuwaiti lawmaker Saadoun Hammad and former lawmaker Salah Khorshid, who were co-accused in the case, said the newspaper.
Supreme Court of Bangladesh lawyer Shahdeen Malik said the constituency of lawmaker Shahid should fall vacant as there was no reason for delay in taking a decision in this regard on the grounds that the verdict was given by a foreign court.
Election commissioner Kabita Khanam said that the Election Commission had nothing to do on its own with vacating a Jatiya Sangsad seat as the authority to initiate the process rested with the parliament.
The commission will comply with the request, if any, from the parliament.
JS chief whip Noor-E-Alam Chowdhury earlier told New Age that the parliament had nothing to do about the lawmaker unless he was convicted.
He said that the parliament would take measures in accordance with the constitution.
A member of the parliament shall vacate his or her seat if he or she is convicted for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude ‘by a competent court’ and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, according to the articles 66 and 67 of the Bangladesh Constitution.
The Kuwait government arrested Shahid Islam on 6 June, 2020 and filed three cases against him on allegations of human trafficking, money laundering and bribing for securing job contracts for his companies.
He reportedly confessed in detail to providing huge sums of money and gifts to several Kuwaitis.
To avoid surveillance of the Bangladesh government, he used general Bangladeshi passport in his travels to the Arab country despite his eligibility to hold a diplomatic passport, officials said.
Shahid Islam is also a co-accused in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission against four people, including his wife Salina Islam, also an MP from a reserved seat, daughter Wafa Islam and sister-in-law Jesmin Akhter on charges of amassing illegal wealth and laundering Tk 148 crore..
The ACC has initiated an inquiry in Bangladesh into the charges of accumulating illegal wealth through money laundering by Shahid Islam, also a director of NRB Commercial Bank.
The ACC also imposed bans on foreign travels by Shahid Islam, Salina Islam, Wafa Islam and Jesmin Akter. The ban will take effect for Shahid after his return to Bangladesh as he was in detention in Kuwait.
The JS has already witnessed a heated debate over the arrest of Shahid Islam as he was the first Bangladeshi lawmaker to be arrested abroad.
After Shahid Islam came into discussion, the Jatiya Party on 28 June 2020 relieved him as its presidium member.