The telecom regulator rejected it saying the Appellate Division has an order on the issue and it cannot bypass the court
Grameenphone, the country's largest telecom operator, offered Tk100 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Wednesday to continue dialogues over its disputed audit claim.
However, the telecom regulator rejected it saying the court has an order on the issue and the BTRC cannot take any decision bypassing the court.
"We proposed a deposit to continue the discussion for an amicable resolution," said Hossain Sadat, director and head of Regulatory Affairs at Grameenphone.
After being refused by the BTRC, Hossain Sadat, at a press conference in the city, also said that the company tried to enter into a good-faith discussion through the deposit towards a mutually acceptable framework, process and resolution.
In November 2019, the Appellate Division asked Grameenphone to pay Tk2,000 crore of the Tk12,580 crore audit claim made by the BTRC.
Subsequently, Grameenphone filed an appeal seeking to pay only Tk575 crore.
The hearing of the appeal over the issue is set to be held on Thursday.
"The initiative is meant to find a solution based on the merit of the audit claim and is therefore separate from the ongoing court proceedings," Sadat stated.
He said that Grameenphone has constructively engaged on multiple occasions with the regulators and relevant authorities to resolve this disputed audit demand through a dialogue leading to a resolution.
In the meantime, the regulatory body BTRC said it cannot take any decision bypassing the court.
"The commission must obey the court order," said BTRC Senior Assistant Director Md Zakir Hossain Khan.
On April 2, 2019, the telecom regulator demanded Grameenphone to pay its dues worth Tk12,580 crore, which the firm refused to pay questioning BTRC's audit process.
Apart from this, the telecom operator filed a case with the lower court seeking a temporary order on realising the money.
On August 28 last year, the court scrapped Grameenphone's plea, making it file an appeal with the High Court.
On October 17, the High Court bench of Justice AKM Abdul Hakim and Justice Fatima Nazib issued a two-month injunction against the BTRC move.
Later, the BTRC appealed to the Appellate Division, seeking a stay order on the injunction.
Meanwhile, the regulator also stopped issuing no-objection certificates (NOCs) to Grameenphone, barring it from importing any new network infrastructure equipment.
Without NOCs, Grameenphone has also been unable to launch new products, issue new SIM cards and carry out routine maintenance.