12:00 AM, February 28, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:59 AM, February 28, 2018

HC asks NBR to unfreeze Robi's bank accounts

Revenue authority yet to concede defeat

Star file photo

The High Court yesterday unblocked Robi Axiata's bank accounts -- just a day after they were frozen by the revenue authority on allegations of dodging of Tk 18.72 crore in value-added tax and supplementary duty.

The court stayed the decision of the National Board of Revenue and also asked it to explain why the freezing of Robi's bank accounts should not be declared illegal.

The development comes after Robi Axiata filed a writ petition challenging the NBR's decision to freeze its bank accounts.

“There is no legal bar for Robi to run the bank accounts,” said Tanjib-Ul Alam, the writ petitioner's lawyer.

On February 7, a team from the Large Taxpayers Unit (VAT) inspected Robi's corporate office and collected a host of pertinent documents.

After examining the documents, the NBR field office came to the conclusion that the country's second largest mobile operator had unpaid supplementary duty and VAT on space rental, SIM sales and interconnection service it had provided to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited.

The total amount of VAT was Tk 18.72 crore, which Robi did not pay on time, according to the LTU-VAT.

The field office then employed a provision of the VAT Act 1991 that empowers a VAT official of the rank of an assistant commissioner and above to freeze bank accounts for a certain timeframe.

“We will appeal to the court for withdrawal of the stay,” said Md Matiur Rahman, commissioner of LTU-VAT.

Robi, in a statement yesterday, said it will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities in an open and transparent manner to ensure strict adherence to regulations and laws governing businesses and industries in Bangladesh.