Ncell commits to follow laws of Nepal in share purchase and sale
KATHMANDU, Dec 6: Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), the regulatory body overseeing telecom companies in the country, has made it clear that the recent sale and purchase of Ncell's shares is questionable and will be investigated.
Speaking at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, the chairman of the NTA, Purushottam Khanal, said that the process of buying and selling shares is questionable and that a probe will be conducted.
The NTA has obtained the agreement between Axiata and Spectrlite UK for the purchase and sale of 100 percent shares of Reynold Holding, owned by the Axiata Group, and is currently reviewing the agreement documents.
Similarly, he said that a committee will be formed to investigate this matter by the Council of Ministers at the behest of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. He clarified that they have already sent a letter to Ncell saying that the approval to the transaction will be given to Ncell only after looking at the price and procedural matters.
He said that the reply to the letter sent by the NTA had also arrived on Tuesday. In response, Khanal said that Ncell has given a commitment through a letter that it will comply with the provisions of the regulations and apply to the NTA for the approval of the share purchase and sale.
The process of collecting related documents was underway and it would be submitted to the respective body within the existing laws of Nepal, it said. The NTA will launch further investigations if the sale and purchase of Ncell stakes is suspected, said Khanal in the meeting.
The committee had sought response from the NTA about arrears of over Rs 2.2 billion of the NTA. The arrears had to be recovered within three months from various nine telecommunication service providers.
Lawmaker from the Rastriya Swatantra Party Dr Swarnim Wagle demanded that the management of Ncell should be brought to the finance committee and inquired about the matter. "The finance committee should write to the chief executive officer of Ncell Axiata Limited and its partner in Nepal inquiring about the matter. While talking about the investment conference in Nepal, the fact that a foreign company is exiting Nepal has risked the prestige of Nepal. This has spread negative message to foreign investors aspiring to invest in Nepal," he said.
Other lawmakers Dipak Khadka, Biraj Bhakta Shrestha, Ganga Karki and Purna Bahadur Tamang demanded serious investigations into the matter.
We are committed to follow the laws of Nepal in share purchase and sale: Ncell
Ncell Axiata has committed to comply with the laws of Nepal, addressing suspicions of Axiata violating the laws of Nepal in the sale of Ncell shares, by releasing a statement on Wednesday.
After serious questions were raised about the sale of Axiata's shares to Spectrlite UK Limited, Ncell has sent an answer to the question asked by NTC and said that Ncell is a responsible organization that believes in the rule of law and is determined to fulfill its legal duties.
Following raised concerns about the sale of Axiata's shares to Spectrlite UK Limited at a significantly lower price than the purchase cost, NTA issued a letter on December 1, instructing Ncell to secure approval before engaging in any share transactions.
As soon as the documents mentioned in By-law 5 of the Share Purchase and Sale Regulations 2076 are collected by the person who has received the Nepal Telecommunication Authority Permit, those documents shall be collected immediately and in accordance with Section 15, Sub-section 1(k) of the Telecommunications Regulations 2054 BS and Regulation 4 of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority Share Purchase and Sale Regulations 2076 BS. It has also been informed that an application will be submitted to the NTA for share purchase and sale approval.
The government is preparing to investigate the sale of shares of Ncell. In the reply letter sent by Ncell, it has said that discussions on the two-party agreement documents are underway, and once finalized, the documents will promptly be submitted to the NTA.