NOC issuance to GP to depend on AD order

BTRC chair says as GP agrees to pay Tk 1,000cr

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:33, Feb 22,2020


Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman Jahurul Haque on Saturday said that the issuance of no objection of certificates to mobile operator Grameenphone would depend on the court order even if the operator paid Tk 1,000 crore in audit claims today.

Grameenphone on Friday announced that it would pay Tk 1,000 crore to BTRC today, complying with the order issued by the Appellate Division on Thursday against its review petition.

A seven-member AD bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, in a fresh directive, asked GP to pay the telecom regulator Tk 1,000 crore by Monday in compliance with an earlier directive that had directed the mobile operator to pay Tk 2,000 crore out of Tk 12,579.95 crore in BTRC audit claim within three months.

When asked whether the BTRC would start issuing NOCs to GP after it paid Tk 1,000 crore today, Jahurul told New Age on Saturday, ‘The AD had ordered GP to pay Tk 2,000 crore initially. We will set our next course of action as per the court order if GP pays Tk 1,000 crore on Sunday (today).’

Apart from asking the operator to pay Tk 1,000 crore by Monday, the court also asked the mobile phone operator to appear before it after the payment when the court would outline the ways to resolve the audit issue, the BTRC chairman said on Thursday.

The mobile phone operator is in desperate need of BTRC’s NOCs, especially for issuing new SIMs as the company has been struggling to issue new connections to subscribers.

GP in a statement issued by the telecom company’s head of external communications Md Hasan on Friday said that the company would pay Tk 1,000 crore as it respected the legal system of Bangladesh and the Supreme Court direction, and looked forward to getting court protection from the ‘pressure’ the commission put on the company and its management.

‘BTRC has applied several actions to restrict Grameenphone’s operations, including declining no objection certificates, issuing show cause notice for licence cancellation, denying recycling of number series and threatening the company with the appointment of an administrator,’ the release said.

‘These actions have had negative impact on customer experience and business partners, reduced confidence in the business environment and dented interest from investors,’ it said.

 ‘Grameenphone reiterates that the company disputes the validity of the BTRC audit claim and looks forward to having its position heard before the honourable courts. Grameenphone continues its dialogue with the authorities of Bangladesh to find an amicable and transparent solution to the dispute and protect the value to customers, partners and shareholders,’ the release read. It said that the company, complying with the Supreme Court direction, expected that business operations would run without further obstacles and they would be allowed to best serve their customers.

On April 2, 2019, the commission, based on an audit conducted by Toha Khan Zaman & Co which was appointed in 2015 as part of the BTRC’s second attempt, claimed Tk 12,579.95 crore from GP. The BTRC’s claim to GP includes Tk 8,498 crore the company owes the telecom regulator and another Tk 4,086 crore it owes the National Board of Revenue.

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