The Supreme Court has ordered telecom operator Grameenphone (GP) to pay Tk1,000 crore by February 24, to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) out of its outstanding dues.
An Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain gave the order at the review petition hearing on BTRC’s audit claim of Tk12,580 crore on Thursday.
BTRC's legal counsel Barrister Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib confirmed the matter.
On January 26, GP filed a review petition with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, expressing that they were willing to pay only Tk575 crore, instead of Tk2,000 crore, which the court in November ordered GP to pay.
On November 24, the Appellate Division ordered GP to pay Tk2,000 crore to BTRC within three months, out of the BTRC’s audit claim of Tk12,579 crore.
On Wednesday, BTRC declined to receive Tk100 crore which the leading mobile operator offered to pay out of its unpaid audit claims.
“We offered Tk100 crore to show our willingness for negotiation. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) did not accept our money,” Hossain Sadat, director and head of regulatory affairs at GP, told reporters in a press meet at a hotel in Dhaka.
He said the company was always ready to resolve the audit dispute through discussion.
Asked why the company did not respond to a government call to deposit a certain amount of the audit claim for negotiation three months back, he said: “We were ready for it and working on formulating an agreement so that we can pay some amount in an official manner.
But through media reports we came to know that government was set to appoint an Administrator at GP. So, to protect the interest of our investors we had to rush to the court.”
BTRC Chairman Md Johurul Haque told Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday that as the matter was pending with the court the commission could not take the money.
“GP went to the court for solution. As the matter involves legal process, we will wait until it ends. After the court decision we will take our next step,” he said.
After running an audit on the Norway-based company, the BTRC in 2016 claimed Tk12,579.95 crore from GP in taxes and late fees accumulated over years.