Bangladesh’s National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday told banks to freeze accounts of three cellcos – Robi, Banglalink and CityCell – for 15 days, and to deduct overdue value added tax (VAT) from the accounts, and deposit it to the public exchequer, due to the companies’ failure to pay their dues within a stipulated timeframe. The Financial Express reports that the Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) of the NBR sent a letter to all banks concerned, asking them to suspend all transactions, including withdrawal and transfer of money from accounts of the three companies, who owe a total of BDT3.93 billion (USD47 million) in VAT to the NBR. The VAT bill is attributed to the sale of SIM cards dating back to 2005; following a legal battle over the payment, the NBR won a final court verdict on 1 August 2012.
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