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17 February, 2020 12:27:08 AM
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GP review hearing soon

TK 12,580CR audit claim
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
GP review hearing soon

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) may soon hold a hearing on a petition filed by Grameenphone (GP) for permission to pay Tk 575 crore in instalments to the Bangladesh Telecommu-nication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) against dues found during an audit.

Speaking with The Independent, attorney general Mahbubey Alam said the Appellate Division will soon start hearing the review petition filed by GP seeking the apex court’s permission to pay Tk 575 crore in 12 equal monthly instalments as adjustable deposits

to BTRC.

The chief law officer of the state confirmed that they were ready to participate in the hearing at any time. On November 24 last year, the apex court had ordered GP to pay Tk. 2,000 crore to BTRC, a sum 10 times higher than what the operator was willing to pay. Earlier, on November 14, GP had agreed to pay Tk. 200 crore against the telecom regulator’s audit claim of Tk. 12,580 crore within the next three months.

This year, on January 26, GP filed a review petition with the apex court seeking permission to pay around Tk. 575 crore in 12 instalments.

Director and head of the Regulatory Affairs at GP, Hossain Sadat, expressed hope that the Appellate Division would review the previous order and allow GP to pay the dues to ensure a “transparent resolution” of the matter as soon as possible. He also said GP had been facing setbacks in new investments, service improvements, and overall day-to-day activities due to restrictions imposed by the regulator.

On July 22 last year, the BTRC had halted issuance of any no-objection certificates (NOCs) to GP and Robi, the two largest mobile phone operators in the country.

The BTRC’s move followed the announcement made by its chairman on July 17 that the regulator would take stringent steps to realise the Tk. 134.46 billion audit claims from the operators.

The restrictions imposed forced the operators to suspend the launching of new packages and services, as well as opening letters of credit for the import of equipment and software. The operators were also barred from running packages after the expiry of the BTRC’s existing NOC for the packages. On January 14, 2020, however, the BTRC lifted the ban on Robi as the operator had paid the first instalment of the Tk. 1.38 billion dues fixed by the High Court (HC) as settlement for the disputed audit demand. On April 2, 2019, the telecom regulator had demanded Tk. 125.80 billion from GP as the audit claim, prompting the company to take recourse to litigation.

MK

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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