New brand logo of Ncell - an Axiata company.
KATHMANDU: Former Prime Minister and Naya Shakti Nepal Coordinator, Baburam Bhattarai, criticised the government for its decision to make the TeliaSonera, which has already left Nepal, pay the capital gains tax (CGT) involved in the multi-million dollar trade of Ncell. He dubbed the government decision a policy crime, claiming it intended to support a conspiracy to evade the tax worth Rs 33 billion. The Swedish telecommunication giant TeliaSonera had sold its stake in the Nepal-based telecom operator Ncell to Malaysia-based Axiata for USD 1.03 billion. As per Nepal's existing laws, the state coffers should receive 25 per cent of the profit made from the TeliaSonera-Axiata deal. Both the companies have refused to pay the CGT. Arguing the government breached the process while taking the issue to the Cabinet though it had to be dealt by a tax officer, the former finance minister claimed it was a conspiracy not to collect the CGT worth Rs 33 billion. He charged that the direct proposal taken to the Cabinet by DPM and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara intended to facilitate tax evasion, and condemned the decision on behalf of his party. According to him, the offshore deal on Ncell intended to evade tax because shareholders are not changed officially in Nepal's Company Registrar's Office. He went on to accuse the He went on to accuse the CPN Maoist Centre and Nepali Congress of supporting the plan, which he said was not only a crime but also disloyalty to the country. In a statement issued today, the former Maoist leader recalled that the House committees had directed the government in the past to take a right decision on the matter. "But taking decision forcefully in the name of a high-level agreement is a grave crime. All should protest this policy crime and exert pressure [on the government] to revoke it," he said. READ ALSO:
How will govt recover CGT from TeliaSonera?