Audit claim dispute with GP, Robi to be resolved through court: Kamal

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today made it clear that the audit claim dispute with the telecom operators Grameenphone and Robi over Taka 13,447 crore will be settled through the court as the two operators did not pay any amount till date as part of the ‘out of court’ settlement, reports BSS.

“We moved ahead sincerely to make an ‘out of court’ settlement and we’ve also waited for long. But, they (GP, Robi) didn’t pay anything. Had they (GP, Robi) make any payment, we then could understand that they are sincere and interested about the out of court settlement,” Kamal said.

The Finance Minister was talking to reporters after chairing two separate meetings on Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase held at the Cabinet Division conference room this evening.

The meeting approved two proposals at the Economic Affairs Committee meeting and six proposals at the Purchase Committee meeting.

Kamal said the he had done his level best to come to a solution over the matter along with his colleagues at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, NBR, BTRC, adding, “Now the things will move on as per the decision of the court. We won’t be able to go beyond the decision of the court.” He added.

He also hoped that something positive would come from the court in this regard.

Earlier, on August 25 and August 26 respectively, the mobile operators Robi and Grameenphone filed two cases with a Dhaka court, seeking permanent injunctions on the telecom regulator’s audit claims of Tk 13,447 crore.

On September 5, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued show cause notices on the operators, asking them to explain within 30 days why their licenses would not be cancelled for not paying the dues.

The telecom regulator ran separate audits into the two operators’ books from their inception until December 2014 and claimed the amounts – Taka 12,579.95 crore from GP and Taka 867.23 crore from Robi.

GP owes Taka 12,579.95 crore to the government, including Taka 4,085.95 crore to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), while Robi owes Taka 867.23 crore to the government, including Taka 197.21 crore to the NBR alone, as per BTRC audit records.

When asked about the two-year ban on the country’s premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan by the ICC, the Finance Minister termed it as a ‘sad incident’ for the nation.

Bangladesh premier all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was handed a two-year ban, with one year goes suspended, by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on yesterday after the 32-year old had accepted three charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code.

Kamal said the ban would definitely cast a stormy effect on the life of Shakib side by side the dignity of the country would be impaired to some extent.

“It’s quite unfortunate for the nation as the country will definitely be affected for losing him. Shakib’s replacement is not possible in the Bangladesh cricket team,” he added.

Noting that the ace all-rounder Shakib has showed his sign of honesty in the matter as he spoke the truth, Kamal, also a former ICC President, said Shakib could have informed about the development to the BCB or even to the Prime Minister.

The Finance Minister said the ICC is very much tough over breach of discipline and over max-fixing since it pursues an ‘uncompromising attitude’ in this regard.