Ncell submits documents amidst license revocation threat

The reason behind the decision of Axiata Group, the parent company of Ncell, to exit Nepal.

KATHMANDU: Ncell Axiata has at last provided the necessary documents pertaining to the sale and purchase of shares, following a warning from the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) that it could revoke their license. Approximately three weeks after Malaysia’s Axiata Group declared the sale of 80% of its Ncell Nepal shares to Spectralite UK, the NTA has verified the receipt of transaction documents.

Purushottam Khanal, Chairperson of the NTA, stated, “Ncell has submitted the documents we requested to the authority on Wednesday.” The Axiata representative added that the requested documents, repeatedly sought by the authority, have been furnished in accordance with legal requirements. This development follows a third warning from the Authority on Monday, cautioning Ncell to comply with document submission or face potential action.

Referring to Section 28 of the Telecommunications Act 2053, Khanal explained that if a licensee contravenes the Act or its rules, the authority allows a fixed timeframe for rectification. Failure to improve within this period can result in license revocation. “We asked to provide all the documents related to the share purchase and sale agreement and other transactions,” added Khanal.

The sequence of events unfolded after Axiata Berhad Group announced the sale of its ownership shares on November 29. The authority, on November 30, sought clarification about the sale, to which Ncell responded, promising to provide the documents once collected, but the submission took three weeks.

Meanwhile, various parliamentary committees, including the Public Account Committee, have urged the regulatory authority to furnish documents related to the share purchase and sale agreement. In response to the authority’s submission to the committee, concerns were raised about the legality of Ncell’s recent transaction, citing potential violations of telecommunications laws.

The Education, Health, and Information Technology Committee of the Federal Parliament decided in its meeting on Wednesday to summon the Ministry of Communication and NTA leadership to provide documents and accurate information about the sale of Ncell’s share ownership. Discussions at the meeting also touched upon the need for a thorough investigation into potential money laundering and direct foreign investment by Ncell.

Axiata attributed its decision to sell to the escalating challenges in the Nepalese telecommunications industry, with the sale to Spectralite UK Limited announced on November 30 for $50 million.

Fiscal Nepal |
Thursday December 21, 2023, 10:58:35 AM |

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