According to the findings of the Pakistan Privatisation Commission, the sale of a stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) to UAE-based Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) was ‘unfair’ and against the rules, Reuters reports. In a statement the asset sale agency noted: ‘The deal was full of flaws and legal advisers had asked the then government to scrap it otherwise it would be considered contrary to rules.’ The investigation into the sale followed a request by Minister Waqar Ahmed Khan and comes some four years after the USD2.6 billion deal. Etisalat, meanwhile, has contended that the sale was valid, with Naveed Saeed, senior vice president at PTCL saying: ‘PTCL followed all the procedures and rules laid down by government of Pakistan … We were the successful bidder.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Etisalat is withholding USD799 million in payments related to the 2006 acquisition of its 26% stake in the telco. The Emirates-based firm stated late last month that it would not make the payment until a number of properties included as part of the original sale agreement are signed over to PTCL.