Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the trial of those involved in corruption, terrorism and extremism must be held as the government wants to build a peaceful environment in the country.
‘I want to tell you that those who will indulge in corruption, terrorism and extremism must face trial,’ she said.
The prime minister was speaking at a reception accorded to her by the Italy unit of Awami League at Parco Dei Principi Grand hotel in Rome on Tuesday with its president M Idris Farazi in the chair.
She said that her government wanted to develop the country and change the fate of people.
‘This will be possible only when we will be able to check and eradicate corruption, extremism and nepotism,’ the PM said adding that the prime goal of her government was to develop Bangladesh.
Sheikh Hasina said that she and her party were in power to change the fate of people, not to indulge in corruption.
Recalling the illegal capture of power by ZiaurRahman, she said those who had grabbed power illegally could not give anything to the nation.
‘I am daughter of father of the nation, and pursue the politics. Why should we indulge in corruption luxury?’ she said.
About the recent verdict in a case where Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia was convicted along with others, Hasina said the case was filed by Khaleda Zia’s favourite people Moeen Uddin, Fakhruddin and Iajuddin. ‘Awami League did not lodge the case,’ she said.
‘BNP followers are questioning the justification of giving the punishment for Tk 2 crore, and there are some intellectuals too who are supporting this argument. That means there will be a ceiling of amount of money to commit corruption which will be legal. Are they trying to mean that,’ she questioned.
Hasina suggested BNP to file a writ petition with the higher court.
‘Being a former prime minister, Khaleda Zia whitened black money. Where that money came from, anyway,’ she questioned.
The prime minister said whenever BNP came to power it turned the country into a den of corruption.
The prime minister said the last caretaker government assumed office and declared emergency following the misdeeds of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government. ‘The BNP unleashed terrorism and extremism, committed corruption and created ‘Bangla Bhai’ in such a situation, we saw the emergency.’
She said the graft case was filed in 2007. ‘Its trial proceedings started the following year and continued for 10 years. The hearing was held on 236 days. But Khaleda Zia appeared before the court for only 40 days.’
The Awami League president said the court was changed thrice for the BNP leader’s objection and she filed writs for 22 to 24 times. ‘When the court punished Khaleda Zia despite her attempts to delay the trial, BNP is arguing what was the necessity to punish her for such a small amount of money.’
Hasina said the money embezzled by Khaleda Zia and others was brought for an orphanage. ‘But it went to their personal funds instead of orphans.’
Regarding the corruption cases filed against her in the past, the prime minister said the investigation of every case was carried out and the reports were submitted to the authorities concerned.
‘I had said investigation would have to be conducted and the report on every case would have to be submitted. We wanted to see that what the merit of the case is,’ she said.
Hasina said, ‘I did not withdraw any case and I did not allow it ... why should I do it? I knew I did not commit any graft.’
She pointed out that the corruption allegation was raised by the World Bank over the construction of the Padma Bridge, but it was proved in the Canadian court that no corruption took place in the Padma Bridge project.
Hasina elaborated her government’s achievements in different sectors, including agriculture, education, health, ICT and diplomacy.
Responding to various demands of Bangladeshi expatriates, she recalled their huge contributions to the country’s economy by sending remittance. ‘They are making huge contributions to the country’s growing foreign currency reserve,’ she said.
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