On July 22, BTRC stopped providing approvals for services, import and other operational aspects of GP in an effort to realize the audit claims
Leading mobile phone company Grameenphone on Thursday said it would seek legal advice to bring the telecom regulator to table for arbitration over settling Tk12,579.95 crore audit claims.
“As per the arbitration law, now we would request the regulator again for arbitration through the court,” Hossain Sadat, Acting Chief, Corporate Affairs Officer, GP, told reporters at a press briefing, when questioned.
At the briefing held at the Intercontinental Hotel, GP’s chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Foley said the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s move to stop all operational permits for the company was unprecedented.
He also said the operational hazards of GP would push the country’s economy into trouble as a large number of subscribers, businesses and investors were directly involved with the company.
On July 22, BTRC stopped providing approvals for services, import and other operational aspects of GP in an effort to realize the audit claims.
‘We might have disagreement with the regulator but that should not put our customers and stakeholders into trouble. We already requested the regulator to reconsider its decision and resolve the matter through arbitration,’ GP CEO said.
He also said the regulator’s stance was also affecting the stock market as GP held the largest market capitalization in the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
‘The BTRC move would force us to freeze our investment in the country. The businesses linked to us would also suffer and the staff might lose their jobs,’ he said.
Replying to a question on their next course of action, Hossain Sadat said, ‘The first 30 days of giving a response to of our application seeking arbitration has ended. As per the arbitration law, we now would request the regulator again through the court.’
He claimed the methodology and the principle on the particular issue of the BTRC were questionable.
‘For example, spectrum usage charges between 2002 and 2006 were paid based on demand notes claimed by the BTRC. However, in the BTRC audit, it was assessed that the demand notes were incorrectly calculated. Now the regulator wants us to pay the additional amount for the mentioned period,” he said.
Besides, the audit claimed compound interest on the additional amount because of the delay in payment, he said.
‘We are gravely concerned that our responses to the audit findings went unheeded and remained unsettled. This cannot be the stand of an independent audit, and it questions the spirit behind the entire audit process,” GP CEO said at the briefing.