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Hamidur Rashid

Bangladeshi UN official charged with fraud granted bail

WT24 Desk

Hamidur Rashid, a Bangladeshi national charged with ‘visa and foreign labour contracting frauds’, was granted bail on ‘unsecured bond’ on Tuesday, reports UNB.

US prosecutors charged Hamidur, a United Nations employee in New York, with committing visa fraud by bringing a female domestic worker from Bangladesh but reportedly failed to pay her a lawful wage.

“Hamidur appeared before the court in Manhattan [Tuesday] and was released shortly,” consul general at Bangladesh Consulate in New York Shameem Ahsan told UNB on Wednesday.

However, a senior diplomat, wishing to remain unnamed, said the latest incident seems to be “calculated attempt to harass the Bangladeshi employees by domestic aides for mundane gains.”

The unsecured bond or no-cash bail was set at US$ 2,50,000 but due to Hamid’s strong ties with the US, especially having an American wife with significant property there, apparently waived him from any cash payment, another official told UNB.

Hamidur, a programme director at the United Nations Development Programme in Manhattan, reportedly contracted with the employee to pay her US$420 per week, and submitted that contract to the US State Department to obtain a visa for her, according to international media.

The employee arrived in the United States in November, 2012 and Hamidur had a new contract signed by her with a wage of US$290 per week, according to the compliant.

Earlier, deputy consul general in New York Shahedul Islam was arrested from his residence in New York based on a case filed by his “absconding” domestic help Mohammed Amin.

The foreign ministry, following the incident, summoned the Charge d’Affaires of the US embassy in Dhaka and lodged a ‘strong protest’ against the arrest of Bangladeshi diplomat. Later, he was freed on bail.

Shahedul Islam was indicted on Monday (June 12) on charges of labour trafficking and forcing his domestic help to work without pay through threats and intimidation.

A hearing of the case filed against Shahedul will be held on 28 June.

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