|BTRC asks GP why licence won't be revoked|
|Thursday, 31 January 2008|
The telecoms regulator Wednesday asked Grameenphone (GP) to explain why its licence would not be cancelled or suspended on charges of breaching agreement and telecoms rules.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission gave the country's largest mobile phone operator 30 days to come up with a reply to its notice.
BTRC chairman Manzurul Alam told bdnews24.com that the notice had been served in line with Bangladesh Telecommunication Act.
The notice came days after BTRC filed a case against GP's two preceding chief executives and eight incumbent and former high officials, charging them with involvement in illegal VoIP business.
GP and Malaysian mobile phone operator DiGi Telecommunications have also been accused of "conniving" with Bangladeshi internet service provider (ISP) AccessTel in the case.
Norwegian telecoms heavyweight Telenor owns major stakes in GP and DiGi. The former GP officials accused in the case are CEOs Eric Aas and Ola Ree, Technical Director Thor Randhaug, Chief Technical Officer Yogesh Sanjeev Malik, and Sales and Marketing Director Mehboob Chowdhury. The accused incumbent GP officials are Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Director Khalid Hasan, Chief Technical Officer Md Shafiqul Islam, Sales and Marketing Director Kafil HS Muyeed, Chief Financial Officer Md Aril Al Islam and Head of Revenue Assurance Espen Wiig Warendroph. The regulator is carrying out further investigations to start prosecution.
BTRC's notice mentions that a taskforce composed of regulatory and law-enforcement officials along with technical experts raided GP's headquarters in Gulshan on Dec 6, 2007. It examined GP's call records and found its network was connected with AccessTel through four E1 links.
It alerted the investigators and they hunted GP's internal records and emails from Dec 7-Dec 14 last year. The probe revealed that GP's expatriate and local top officials were involved in unscrupulous VoIP operations. It also found that DiGi had been GP's overseas partner in the unlawful VoIP venture.
"The majority shareholder's consent to such illegal international VoIP operations has become apparent to the probe committee," the BTRC said in its written complaint to the police.
The regulator also spoke of GP's deliberate non-cooperation with the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). GP's Head of Revenue Assurance Espen Wiig Warendroph had verbally instructed his staff not to reveal the call records of a specific phone number to the elite crime buster.
The number was found to have been used by AccessTel in VoIP call termination, BTRC said.
The investigators then retrieved emails of suspected foreign and local officials of GP. "It proves the involvement of Grameenphone's high ranking officials in the illegal call termination business," the regulator said.
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