The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has selected Masih Muhith Haque & Co – a leading Chartered accountancy firm in the country – for carrying out an audit on Banglalink, the nation's third-largest mobile operator.
After having Bangladesh's two of the largest mobile operators Grameenphone and Robi Axiata audited, the regulator now has its eyes on Banglalink, BTRC sources told The Business Standard on Sunday.
Responding to a query, BTRC Vice-Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra said, "We had received a number of proposals from different firms, and decided to award the work to Masih Muhith Haque & Co as its proposal best suits the commission's requirement.
"We are planning to sign a contract with the firm on Tuesday (24 August) so that the audit can be commenced."
The BTRC will pay Tk8.77 crore to the firm for the audit. Under the contract, Masih Muhith Haque & Co will carry out the audit on regulatory, legal, technical, financial and other related matters from Banglalink's inception in 1996 until December 31, 2019.
On 6 January last year, the BTRC published a circular inviting proposals from firms to conduct the audit. At that time, the operator welcomed the regulator's initiative and expressed optimism that the audit would be conducted fairly.
The operator also expected that all remaining operators, who have not been audited yet (for example Airtel and Teletalk), would go through the same process to ensure a level playing field.
In 2018, the BTRC conducted separate audits on two leading operators Grameenphone and Robi, and claimed Tk12,579 crore and Tk867.24 crore in dues against each of them respectively.
To realise the disputed audit claims, the regulator stopped permitting Grameenphone and Robi from making new investments from July 2019, thwarting their quality of service.
After a long tussle, both operators secured a relief from the BTRC's restrictions by depositing Tk2,000 crore and Tk138 crore respectively as per High Court directives.