'We offered Tk100 crore to show our willingness for negotiation'
The telecom regulator on Wednesday declined to receive Tk100 crore the leading mobile operator Grameenphone offered to pay out of its unpaid audit claims a day before a review petition hearing is due to resolve the dispute.
The GP move came a day before a review petition hearing in the Appellate Division on the audit claim of Tk12,580 crore when the court directed the GP to pay Tk2,000 crore by Sunday.
On January 26, GP filed the review petition with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, expressing that they were willing to pay only Tk575 crore, instead of Tk2,000 crore, by the deadline.
“We offered Tk100 crore to show our willingness for negotiation. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) did not accept our money,” Hossain Sadat, director and head of regulatory affairs at GP, told reporters in a press meet at a Dhaka city hotel.
He said the company was always ready to resolve the audit dispute through discussion.
Asked why the company did not respond to a government call to deposit a certain amount of the audit claim for negotiation three months back, he said, “We were ready for it and working on formulating an agreement so that we can pay some amount in an official manner. But through media reports we came to know that government was set to appoint an Administrator at GP. So, to protect the interest of our investors we had to rush to the court.”
BTRC Chairman MD Johurul Haque told Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday that as the matter was pending with the court the commission could not take the money.
“GP went to the court for solution. As the matter involves legal process, we will wait until it ends. After the court decision we will take our next step,” he said.
After running an audit on the Norway-based company, the BTRC in 2016 claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from GP in taxes and late fees accumulated over years.