Patan High Court issues interlocutory interim order against Ncell saleSummons both parties on December 11 for next hearing to decide whether to continue with order.
The Patan High Court on Thursday issued an interlocutory interim order asking the authorities to halt the sale of telecom company Ncell.
Responding to a writ petition by Gokul Bahadur Rokaya, a single bench of judge Purushottam Prasad Dhakal issued the order to defendants including the Office of Company Registrar to stop the buyout for now.
The court has summoned both parties on December 11 for the next hearing to decide whether to give continuity to the order. The bench has asked the defendants to be present with the necessary documents regarding the purchase deal.
Earlier today, the government formed a five-member high-level committee led by former auditor general Tanka Mani Sharma to investigate the buyout row.
The Cabinet decided to form the commission a day after the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives directed the government to halt the Malaysian company Axiata’s efforts to sell its shares in the Nepal-based telecom company Ncell until a detailed investigation into the matter is completed.
On December 1, Axiata announced that it had entered into an unconditional sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Spectrlite UK Limited for the sale of Reynolds Holding Limited, which owns approximately 80 percent equity stake in the Nepal-based Ncell Axiata Limited.
Spectrlite UK, registered in the United Kingdom in September this year, is owned by Satish Lal Acharya, a person of Nepali origin currently based in Singapore. Sunivera Capital Venture, owned by his wife Bhavana Singh Shrestha, has another 20 percent stake in Ncell.
The regulatory agency—Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA)—was kept in the dark about the deal even though the Telecommunications Regulation 1997 makes it mandatory for the licensed entity to get prior NTA approval for the sale or purchase of more than five percent of the paid-up capital.
After the NTA sought details of the deal, Ncell on Tuesday wrote to the NTA that it was in the process of collecting documents related to the SPA. It has also informed that the SPA would be submitted to the NTA for regulatory approval in line with clause 15 (K) of the Telecommunications Regulation 1997 and clause 4 of the NTA Bylaws (Share Sales of Licensed Persons)-2019.