Grameenphone pays BTRC Tk. 1,000cr
After a prolonged tussle with the regulator, the country’s leading telecom operator Grameenphone on Sunday deposited Tk. 1,000 crore to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission as partial due of an audit claim following a court order.
BTRC Senior Assistant Director Zakir Hossain Khan told that the transaction was completed at 3:30pm on Sunday where Hossain Sadat, director and head of regulatory affairs at GP, handed over the amount as a pay order to the commission Chairman Md Jahirul Haque.
‘As per the court order, GP will appear before the court on Monday with the proof of their deposit. Whatever the court orders, we will go by it, be it about the rest of the dues or about withdrawal of their suspension on NOC,’ the BTRC chairman told journalists.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, issued an order on February 20 that GP must pay Tk1,000 crore to BTRC by Monday of the total claim of Tk12,445 crore by telecom regulator after hearing a review petition filed by GP.
A day before the hearing, GP had offered BTRC Tk100 crore in token of their willingness to continue dialogue with the government about resolving the dispute about the audit claim.
After running an audit on GP, the BTRC in 2016 had claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from the mobile phone operator in taxes and late fees accumulated over years.
The dispute about the audit intensified last year, with the company facing regulatory punishment, including suspension of service and expansion, for not clearing the audit claim.
On November 24, 2019, the Appellate Division ordered GP to pay Tk2,000 crore of the total dues within three months. The deadline expires on Monday.
The telecom regulator claimed the dues in 27 sectors from GP, but failed to recover the money. Later, BTRC sent a notice to GP threatening to revoke its licence on April 2 last year.
But GP moved the court, seeking a temporary injunction on the notice which was turned down on August 28 that year. It later filed an appeal with the High Court Division.
On October 17, the High Court imposed a two-month injunction on realization of dues from GP. BTRC later moved the Appellate Division against the order.
Meanwhile, the news that Grameenphone paid a part of the audit claim was received positively at stock market, which pushed up GP’s share price by 7.58%, or Tk22.4 at the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) on the day. It closed at Tk319.60 per share.