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GP urges BTRC to withdraw audit demand

Published : Wednesday, 17 April, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 506

The Grameenphone, the country's largest mobile telecom operator, on Tuesday sent a letter to the Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission (BTRC), to withdraw its recent audit demand of Tk 12,579.95 crore claiming the demand as 'unfounded' and 'illegal'.
In a GP release sent to different media on Tuesday, it claimed that the operator has requested the regulator that the demand be withdrawn and also requested
discussions with a view to finding an amicable resolution.
Earlier on  April 2, 2019, BTRC issued a demand against GP of Tk 8,494.01 crore to the telecom regulator and Tk 4,085.94 crore to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) within a period of 10 (ten) working days.
The claim originated from an Information and Systems Audit, conducted by the JVCA of Toha Khan Zaman & Co., on GP's operations from inception in 1997 till December, 2014.
Approximately Tk 6,194.3 crore, or nearly 73 percent of the Tk 8,494.01 crore claimed on behalf of BTRC, is the interest amount being charged up to December 2017, the release said.
Earlier, BTRC raised another claim against Grameenphone for Tk 3,034 crore from a previous Information and Systems Audit conducted by another auditor for the period of 1997 to 2011.
Subsequently, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court declared the appointment of that auditor as illegal. Notably, BTRC continues to defend the earlier demand for the period of 1997-2011 at court, while now raising a claim of Tk 12,579.95 crore for the period 1997-2014. As it stands, the present demand made by the BTRC overlaps the period 1997 to 2011, it added.
In the release, Grameenphone CEO Michael Foley said, "Despite numerous interactions with the regulator and extending our full cooperation to the auditors, it is very unfortunate to note that the demand did not reflect our responses. Throughout the entire audit process we have consistently pointed out the flaws in this audit exercise; however, our observations have gone unheeded."
In August 2018, BTRC requested for a formal response from GP on the audit findings, and accordingly GP responded in detail in September 2018 within their timeline. However, the BTRC demand letter states that only responses made up till February 2018 were considered.
With regard to NBR portion of the demand, representing approximately 32 percent of the total claim, GP also pointed out that BTRC has no authority to raise any demand on behalf of NBR.
GP reiterates its request to BTRC to withdraw the demand and to engage in discussions with a view to finding an amicable solution, the release signed by its Deputy General Manager of External Communications Md Hasan claimed.

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