Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said on Wednesday that his recent comments on bribery had been taken out of context and warped to sound like he was encouraging corrupt practice.
The under-fire minister issued a statement at a press briefing on Wednesday in an attempt to cut through the controversy surrounding his address to the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) on December 24.
“While most news media covered the event, some of the newspapers and online media have partially published my speech which has created confusion,” Nurul Islam Nahid told reporters gathered at the Education Ministry auditorium at around 1pm.
“Some eminent people have made remarks based on the partial news, and in turn added to the misunderstanding over what I said.”
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On December 24, Nurul Islam Nahid told the officials of the Directorate of Inspection and Audit (DIA) to limit their practice of receiving bribes, while speaking as the chief guest at a laptop and certificate distribution ceremony in the capital.
“I don’t have the guts to ask you not to take bribes, it would be meaningless,” he was reported as saying.
“It is not only the officials who are thieves, but also the ministers. I am a thief, too. This is the way of the world. But it has to be changed.”
Also Read - TIB expects Nahid to step down over bribery remarks
In his response to the resulting outcry on Wednesday, the minister said education officers under the BNP-Jamaat government took so many bribes from teachers, there was “a plea to take bribes but leave something for the teachers to take care of their family with”.
The minister - who read from a prepared statement on Wednesday and refused to take questions - further said the BNP-Jamaat government established the idea that everyone from officials to ministers was corrupt.
When asked to comment on the call for his resignation made by Transparency International Bangladesh, the education minister replied: “I have already told you that I will not say anything more today. They have done their job. I have nothing to say on this matter.”
The article was first published on Bangla Tribune