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Kuwait denies Papul’s reported citizenship status

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papluDHAKA: Kuwaiti interior ministry yesterday binned some social media reports describing Bangladeshi lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam Papul as a citizen of the middle eastern country where he now faces prosecution on money laundering and human trafficking charges.“The (Kuwaiti) Ministry of Interior denied what was circulated on social media that the Bangladeshi defendant accused obtaining Kuwaiti citizenship as he resides in the country according to the Residence Law,” the General Department of Public Relations and Security Media of the ministry said in a statement.The statement described him as a “Bangladeshi defendant accused” who was “referred to the Public Prosecution as an accused in several cases” while “he resides in the country according to the Residence Law”.It added what was circulated on the social media that Papul obtained “Kuwaiti citizenship is not correct”.Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen earlier on Tuesday said Papul did not use the diplomatic or official passport issued for lawmakers as he went to Kuwait where he was detained and grilled over the charges.“They (Kuwaiti authority) arrested him not as a Bangladesh MP, rather as a Kuwaiti businessman as he was engaged in business there for 29 years,” he said.The Papul issue also came up in Jatiya Sangsad floor on Wednesday when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said he might lose his parliamentary membership if investigations found him to be holding dual citizenship.Papul was elected to parliament as an independent lawmaker from Laxmipur-2 constituency.Bangladesh’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, issued a statement saying some Bangladeshi newspapers misquoted Momen about Papul’s Kuwaiti citizenship status saying the minister never called him as a Kuwaiti citizen and rather said he might have obtained “resident permit” of that country.Kuwait’s Criminal Investigation Department arrested Papul June 6 and according to Arab Times, he denied taking any money from anyone and told Kuwait’s public prosecution officials that he instead was helping his countrymen to earn a living.The Kuwaiti public prosecution, however, ordered his continued detention pending further investigation.Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recently said it launched an inquiry against the lawmaker as well over allegations of amassing Tk 1,400 crore by human trafficking.The ACC sought lawmaker’s 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 Papul and his wife Selina Islam, also a lawmaker from a reserve seat for women.