Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid yesterday clarified his remarks on bribe, saying his comment, which has taken the country by storm, has been misconstrued due to "partial" publication in some newspapers and online portals.
While speaking at a press briefing at his ministry, the minister said in his speech on Sunday, he had cited examples of the past to describe the scenario of the Directorate of Inspection and Audit (DIA) eight years ago.
Nahid said, "Although most of the media properly carried my speech, some newspapers and online media published my speech partially, creating confusion among people."
Opinions of some eminent citizens and political personalities based on those spread more confusion.
During the DIA's laptops and certificates distribution ceremony on Sunday, the minister claimed that corruption had come down significantly in the education sector, thanks to measures taken by his ministry.
Then he referred to a situation eight years ago and said, "When I sat with EED [Education and Engineering Department], I told them that please do good work. My request to you [is] 'you take bribe, but you must keep it within a tolerable limit'. [I said that] because I did not have the courage to tell them not to take any bribe. It would have been a meaningless remark. But now we have made tremendous efforts and brought many changes here."
The education ministry on Monday clarified its position on the media reports, saying that the reports created scope for misunderstandings.
At yesterday's briefing, the minister said, of all the directorates and departments of the education ministry, the image of DIA was not up to the mark in 2009 when the AL-led alliance assumed power.
"Unbridled corruption, mismanagement and weakness in monitoring were evident. The officials were involved in corruption and irregularities. All those were the fallout of misrule of the past BNP-Jamaat government," he alleged.
"I didn't mention the BNP-Jamaat part in my speech [on Sunday]. The situation was created during their rule and they should explain their misdeeds," Nahid added.
He said they had been able to bring the DIA out of that anarchy.
"The zero-tolerance policy on corruption and bribe has been intensified," he said, adding that, "Now, the DIA is a lot more transparent and accountable institution. We keep our efforts on to make it a graft-free institution."
The minister also said some eminent personalities raised different questions regarding him on the basis of "partial and baseless" news.
"I would like to tell them humbly that you are aware of my struggle for honesty, ideals and sense of responsibility. I would have been happier if you had contacted me before making any comments based on partial and baseless news," Nahid said.
Asked about TIB's statement over his resignation for his comments, the minister said he gave an explanation of his speech and did not want to say anything more.