Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday called for expression of interest (EoI) to conduct financial and technical audits of Banglalink, its third attempt to do so.
The audits on Banglalink, the third largest mobile carrier, would be run from its inception in 1996 until December 2019, according to the offer uploaded on the BTRC’s website.
The regulator in a recent meeting also decided to run audits on Airtel, which has already merged with Robi, said Subrata Roy Maitra, vice-chairman of the regulator, adding that audits would be gradually run on all the mobile operators.
The first attempt on combing through Banglalink’s books in 2011 went in vain as the auditors expressed their unwillingness to continue halfway into the work. At that time the commission had formally decided to launch audits on Banglalink, Robi and out-of-operation Citycell.
In December 2017, the BTRC floated its second EoI.
This time, bidders raised questions on why their capacities at running technical and financial audits alongside offers were simultaneously being evaluated when the BTRC had itself stipulated that technical capacities would first be examined.
The regulatory commission then in May last year announced that it had decided to repeal the process and start afresh.
The development comes at a time when the country’s top two mobile operators are at loggerheads with the telecom regulator over claims made after audits into their books.
The operators took the matter to court, which instructed Grameenphone to pay Tk 2,000 crore and Robi Tk 138 crore.
Both figures are about 16 percent of what the telecom regulator had fixed through auditing.
The audit on Grameenphone in 2011 claimed Tk 3,034 crore.
Grameenphone challenged it and the telecom regulator in October 2015 followed court directives to appoint the Toha Khan Zaman & Co to conduct an audit.
In March 2016, the Masih Muhith Haque & Co was appointed to conduct the information system audit in Robi Axiata.
The telecom regulator then claimed Tk 12,579.95 crore from Grameenphone and Tk 867.24 crore from Robi.