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2 lawmakers deny any link to Bangladeshi human trafficker

KUWAIT: Lawmakers are seen during a session of the National Assembly yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Two Kuwaiti MPs yesterday denied any link to a Bangladeshi lawmaker – allegedly the leader of a major residency trading and human trafficking network – currently held in the country for interrogation. Interior Minsiter Anas Al-Saleh announced earlier this week that government officials and companies were involved in the scam, while social media reports published the names of the two lawmakers.

One MP said that he did not have any link to the Bangladeshi lawmaker and called on those who have any evidence to go to court. He insisted that he was among the first to crack down on visa traders. The lawmaker said such issues are normally raised to tarnish his image ahead of the election and on the eve of grilling debates in the National Assembly. A lawyer of the other MP also denied any involvement of the lawmaker, saying he will file lawsuits against all social media users who published the name of his client.

Social media reports meanwhile published more details about the activities of the Bangladeshi suspect, who has been operating a large network that sold visas at high rates to Bangladeshis. Some sites claimed he had gifted close to 100 influential people with luxury cars and paid bribes worth millions of dinars, in addition to being a main stakeholder in companies with Kuwaiti partners.

MP Mohammad Hayef sent questions to the ministers of commerce and justice asking for any licenses in the name of the Bangladeshi MP. He demanded copies of all commercial licenses or contracts in his name registered at the two ministries.

Meanwhile, the Assembly was to debate two grillings yesterday. The first is against Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi for not ending the current school year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It was filed by MP Faisal Al-Kandari. The second is against Finance Minister Barrak Al-Sheetan for violations allegedly committed in contracts signed during the coronavirus crisis, claims of losses in Kuwaiti investments, and failure to take proper actions against corruption cases and public debt.

Sheetan has denied any wrongdoing and also denied rumors that he has resigned to avoid the grilling. The grilling could lead to no-confidence motions against the ministers, both of which will be voted on in the Assembly after eight days. To pass, they need the support of 25 elected MPs, as ministers are not allowed to vote on no-confidence motions.

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