With audits into Grameenphone and Robi's books already complete, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is on way to appointing firms to get the same done for Banglalink and Airtel.
Seven chartered accountancy firms were shortlisted and provided specifications last month so that they can send their proposals, said a top BTRC official.
“We have plans to complete all the formalities within a very short time and will start the audit within the next couple of months,” said Md Jahurul Haque, the BTRC acting chairman.
Banglalink welcomed the initiative saying it would “fully cooperate with the appointed auditor.”
“We believe that the audit will be done following the best practices and it will help us improve our processes,” Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Haque said completing audits into two mobile operators has given confidence to the BTRC and the next audits would
The audits into Grameenphone and Robi's accounts were received by the BTRC in February and made public last month.
The one into Grameenphone, starting from its inception in 1996 till 2015, found financial discrepancies of around Tk 11,530.15 crore.
A previous one had detected financial discrepancies amounting to Tk 3,034 crore for a period from its inception till March 2011. However, Grameenphone had disputed the appointment process of the auditing firm.
The other audit into Robi saw the BTRC issuing a letter demanding Tk 867.24 crore as missed or under payments from the mobile operator over a 19-year period till 2015.
The upcoming audit into Banglalink's books, the third attempt of the BTRC, will cover the years starting from its inception in 1996 till 2017.
The one into Airtel, which merged with Robi in November 2016, will be from its 2006 inception till 2016.
Haque said they would gradually go for running audits into the financial systems of the remaining two operators, state-owned Teletalk and out-of-operation Citycell.
The telecom act says the regulator would run such audits from time to time and the BTRC allocated Tk 40.88 crore in 2014 to start running the audits.
Checking the books has been a challenge for a shortage of manpower, said Haque, also a commissioner of the BTRC's legal wing.
“According to the law, companies are bound to preserve documents for two years and sometimes it becomes tough for us to run proper audits if it cannot be done within that time,” he said.
Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar said operators would have to comply with local rules and regulations and audit findings to do business. “They will not get any scope to avoid the audit findings and will not get any space to bypass the payables,” he said.