Bangladeshi diplomat to face music for shoplifting

Bangladeshi diplomat to face music for shoplifting

A young Bangladeshi diplomat will face punitive action as he was caught stealing a mobile phone from a shop in the Netherlands, according to foreign ministry sources.

An assistant secretary on probation, Mahbub Shahid Shisir was supposed to formally enter the Foreign Service through a ceremony on Thursday. He, however, will not be awarded a certificate and may be dismissed from the service for his "gross misconduct".

He [Shisir] is already out of the list of passing-out officials, said a high official of the foreign ministry.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali is scheduled to distribute certificates among the junior officials on Thursday evening, inducting them in the Foreign Service permanently on successful completion of their various trainings at home and abroad.

Shisir, who joined the Foreign Service through the competitive BCS exam in June 2012 along with nine other Bangladeshi Foreign Service officials, went to The Hague to participate in a training course for young diplomats at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations, Clingendael under a Dutch government scholarship.

During the training in February, he was caught stealing a mobile phone from an electronic shop. The Dutch police detained him afterwards. Although he was released by virtue of his diplomatic immunity, he had to pay a fine of euro 350.

Immediately after the incident, the Dutch government through a formal communication informed the foreign ministry in Dhaka about the entire incident and urged the Bangladesh government to take steps so that such incidents would not happen in future.

Quoting the Dutch government letter, foreign ministry sources said Shisir told the Dutch police that he followed several of his colleagues who committed similar offences and were successful in stealing items from different shops in The Hague.

They said the foreign ministry is also investigating whether other diplomats in the team were involved in any such misconduct.

"The ministry has taken cognisance of the matter immediately after receiving a letter from the Dutch government about the young diplomat's gross misconduct," said a senior official at the foreign ministry, wishing anonymity.

He claimed although there is strong lobby against any punitive measure against him, the matter is now under an administrative process and a decision will be taken in light of the existing law in a day or two.

About the kind of action Shisir may face, the senior official said the government may delay the confirmation of his service or recommend that the Public Service Commission dismiss him from the service.

"Whatever the punishment is, it will be harsh because the official has tarnished the country's image," he said.

The process to take departmental action or terminate a government official from service is a lengthy process but it is now at the final stage, said the official.

When contacted, Mahbub Shahid Shisir, however, denied his involvement in any act of stealing. He told The Daily Star that no such incident of stealing of mobile set was taken place at all.

He told The Daily Star that he has successfully completed all trainings and examinations during his three years service in the foreign ministry but some people are trying to frame false allegations against him.

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