BTRC to run audits on GP, Robi, Banglalink
The country's telecom regulator has decided to conduct financial audits on three leading mobile network operators (MNOs) - Grameenphone (GP), Robi Axiata and Banglalink - although settlement of the previous audits on GP and Robi is yet to reach an end.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has taken the policy decision.
The new audits will be conducted after the previous audit periods, which were until 2014 for GP and Robi. An audit on the third largest MNO Banglalink until 2019 is yet to be completed. Banglalink will be audited from 2020 onwards.
"We have decided to run audit on these MNOs soon," Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar told the FE.
He said audit is a regular responsibility of the BTRC, and the regulator can conduct audit anytime on its licensees.
About realisation of the previous audit claims, he said the issue is now in the court for resolution.
"We can't do anything about the court's decision," he said, adding that the BTRC's job is to audit and the regulator would do it.
The telecom regulator conducted separate audits into the two operators' books from their inception until December 2014 and claimed Taka 125.80 billion from GP and Taka 8.67 billion from Robi.
Both the operators went to the High Court, terming the BTRC's audit claim disputed.
To realise the disputed audit claims, the regulator stopped permitting GP and Robi from making new investments from July 2019, thwarting their quality of service.
Later, the court ordered GP to pay Tk 20 billion and Robi Tk 1.38 billion to government exchequer for the time being. The matter is yet to be resolved, as all the parties are in discussion on the issue out of the court.
"Yes, discussion is still going on to resolve the issue amicably," said Khairul Basher, GP's Head of Communications.
He also welcomed new audit on MNOs.
The BTRC had GP audited in 2011 by a firm that claimed that the telecom company owed Tk 30.34 billion to the government. The GP later took the matter to the court claiming the assessor's lack of capability, and won the dispute, as the audit was declared illegal.
An attempt to inspect Banglalink at the same time failed, as the appointed auditor, Ahmed Zaker & Co, could not finish the job.
At last, the BTRC hired a firm last year to run the audit on the operator. For the job, the telecom regulator signed an agreement worth Tk 877 million with Masih Muhith Haque & Co, a leading chartered accountancy firm.