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8 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 February, 2018 06:51:25 PM
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Robi under NBR fire

NBR gives 2nd largest mobile operator 90-day ultimatum to pay Tk 925cr
Staff Reporter
Robi under NBR fire

Bangladesh’s second largest telecom operator Robi Axiata is under fire as the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has served it an ultimatum to pay Tk 925 crore, an amount it owes as value added tax (VAT) to the national exchequer.

The Large Taxpayers Units (LTU) of the NBR, after finding a discrepancy between its own records and Robi’s database, demanded on Tuesday that the operator should pay the money within 90 days.

Matiur Rahman, NBR commissioner in charge of LTU, told The Independent that Robi had been issued five notices on different occasions to explain “why it should not be asked to deposit the amount in the state coffers within 15 days."

"Robi never explained the reason,” he said. The LTU also asked Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, chief executive officer (CEO) of Robi, to explain the matter, but did not get any reply from him, added Rahman.

When contacted, Ekram Kabir, spokesperson for Robi, a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad of Malaysia, Bharti Airtel Limited of India and NTT DoCoMo Inc of Japan, did not immediately respond, saying they would send a written response to The Independent later.

But they did not do so.

As per the LTU’s analysed data, Robi has not paid Tk 553.61 crore as VAT and Tk 158.20 crore as VAT at source. It also did not pay VAT on the merger fee and the spectrum charge, but made unlawful rebate claims, all of which amount to Tk 213.19 crore.

The data was unearthed after a five-member NBR audit team, led by assistant commissioner Bodruzzaman Munshi, juxtaposed and analysed data stored in Robi’s computers and its submitted returns from January 2013 to December 2016.

“It basically means that Robi has deliberately evaded VAT and at the same time claimed rebate,” said an official with the LTU, which collects, on an average, 55 per cent of the total VAT in a year.

Robi, along with three other operators, had earlier challenged the LTU’s claim in the High Court (HC), which, in turn, asked the operators to follow the process as per the tax law. Based on the HC directive, the operators went to the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal with their grievance.

But in June last year, the VAT Appellate Tribunal, gave a verdict in favour of the LTU, instructing Robi and the others to pay the amount due.

“Robi has to pay the due VAT amount, along with interest and penalty, as per the order of the Appellate Tribunal,” said Matiur Rahman.

“There is no other option for it,” he added.

In November 2007, Robi was fined Tk 145 crore for dodging revenues by transferring phone calls abroad using illegal VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

Related News:

Robi makes mess-up of balance sheet (16-01-2018)

BTRC rejoinder on Robi's scam and our reply (08-02-2018)

Media can publish reports based on draft audit docs (02-08-2018)

 

 

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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.

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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