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Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq today said BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia’s 10-year prison sentence in a graft case was not too harsh but appropriate. - A home for your website

She was Prime Minister of the country at that time. She was supposed to check graft, but she plundered money meant for orphans. So, I think her 10-year prison sentence was not too harsh but appropriate,” he said.

The minister said this while addressing a seminar on anti-graft operation and its success at the National Press Club here this morning. Organized by Progotishil Columnist Forum, the seminar was presided over by forum convener Dr Mizanur Rahman.

Ravindra University Vice-Chancellor Dr Biswajit Ghosh, security analyst Major General (Retd) AK Mohammad Ali Shikder and Islamic University Vice-Chancellor Dr Rashid Askari addressed the seminar, among others.

“Corruption started to spread in the country right after the killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members. Khandaker Moshtak and his cohort Ziaur Rahman chose the way of corruption for backing the killers of Bangabandhu. Later, Zia patronized corruption to strengthen his grip on power, Ershad too continued it,” the law minister said.

Anisul Huq further said corruption in the country reached its peak during the tenure of BNP-Jamaat alliance government and Bangladesh became champion in corruption index for five consecutive times because of BNP-Jamaat ‘mutualism’.

“After coming to power in 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina adopted different programmes to check graft. She enacted Rights to Information Act and adopted the Access to Information (A2I) project. Prime Minister envisioned a digital Bangladesh. She doubled the salary and allowance of the government employees to make them financially stable. She made the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) effective,” he added.

The law minister in his speech emphasized on ensuring the maximum use of information and communication technology, saying, this will reduce corruption automatically.

“Apart from the government, the ACC too should monitor the fact whether all the public and private offices are digitalizing their respective operations. You cannot reduce corruption only by preaching, you have to involve the masses with the anti-graft movement. The ACC has to be stronger and tactful,” Anisul Huq further said.