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BTRC audit claim: GP gets two more weeks to inform SC how much it can pay

  • Published at 01:43 pm October 31st, 2019
Grameenphone logo, left, BTRC logo

The mobile operator urged BTRC to take necessary actions, and allow them to import equipment in order to serve customers

The Supreme Court has given two more weeks to Grameenphone (GP) to inform how much money it can give at present to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) out of its Tk12,580 crore dues.

A seven-member Appellate Division bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, yesterday also fixed November 14 for further hearing on a petition filed by BTRC.

The court gave more time to GP after its lawyers sought it during hearing of the petition seeking a stay on the High Court order, which had imposed an injunction on BTRC’s move to realise the dues from the mobile telecom operator.

Advocate AM Aminuddin, Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh represented GP, and Attorney General Mahbubey Alam the State during yesterday’s hearing.

On October 24, the Supreme Court had asked GP to inform it by Thursday about how much money it could pay the government now out of BTRC’s total audit claim of Tk12,579 crore.

On October 17, the High Court had issued the two-month injunction on BTRC’s move to realise the money, after GP appealed. Afterwards, the telecom regulator moved the Supreme Court.

BTRC recently had taken a number of regulatory measures against Grameenphone.

After running an audit, BTRC in 2016 claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from the mobile phone operator in taxes and late fees accumulated over the years.

BTRC ran its first audit back in 2011 on GP and found financial discrepancies amounting to Tk3,034 crore in the operator's books since its inception in 1996 till March 2011.

GP then disputed the appointment process of the auditing firm. After a court ruling, BTRC in October 2015 appointed another firm to run a new audit on GP’s books from its inception until June 2015.

GP officials claimed that the methodology in the particular issue of BTRC was questionable.

In a press release issued yesterday, the mobile phone operator also urged BTRC to allow the release of their equipment from customs.

It requested BTRC to act in good faith and comply with the High Court order, and to take necessary actions to allow them to import equipment in order to expand network, and serve customers efficiently.

In the statement, GP authorities also highlighted their commitment to reach a transparent and amicable resolution to the disputed BTRC audit claim through a constructive dialogue.