Grameenphone to pay Tk 10bn to regulator by May 31 over audit dispute 

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-05-18 17:21:59 BdST

bdnews24

Grameenphone has decided to pay another Tk 10 billion to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission in line with a Supreme Court order in a Tk 125.8 billion audit dispute.

The country's top mobile network operator plans to make the deposit by May 31, it said in a statement on Monday.

It comes after the top court ordered Grameenphone to pay Tk 20 billion to the telecom regulator to settle the dispute and warned that it would lift the High Court's moratorium on the BTRC’s audit claim if it failed to do so.

Grameenphone had paid half of the stipulated amount on Feb 23 and were subsequently given three months to pay the remaining Tk 10 billion.

"With this balance adjustable deposit, Grameenphone will have fully complied with the Honourable Court's directions relating to the injunction. GP appreciates the recent collaboration with the regulator and looks forward to the continued cooperation to fully restore normal operations," said Md Hasan, head of Grameenphone's external communications.

The company reiterated that it disputes the 'validity of the BTRC audit and the claim' but said it remains intent on resolving the audit dispute, either through an amicable and transparent solution with the relevant authorities or the courts.

"Grameenphone respects the legal system of Bangladesh, the Supreme Court’s direction, and looks forward to the continued court protection to run regular business operations, improve customer experience, bring confidence back in the business environment and protect the value of its shareholders."

BTRC had claimed Tk 125.8 billion in 'unpaid dues' to the telecom regulator from the country’s leading mobile network operator last year.

Besides Grameenphone, the BTRC demanded nearly Tk 8.7 billion from the second largest mobile phone operator Robi.

The regulator threatened the two operators with licence cancellation when it failed to make them pay despite repeated requests.

As the BTRC did not agree to a proposal on settlement of the issue through arbitration, the two firms turned to the judiciary for a resolution.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal’s bid to mediate the dispute through discussions with officials of the BTRC and Grameenphone also failed.

The High Court later froze for two months a lower court order requiring Grameenphone to clear the audit demand on Oct 17 last year.

But after the BTRC sought to appeal against the stay, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Nov 24 ordered Grameenphone to pay the regulator Tk 20 billion within three months.

Grameenphone subsequently asked for a review of the Supreme Court order and sought the court’s consideration to allow the firm to deposit around Tk 5.75 billion in 12 equal monthly instalments on Jan 26.