Patan High Court halts controversial Ncell share transaction with interim order

Kathmandu: In a significant legal development, Patan High Court, Nepal, has issued a short-term interim order, barring the contentious transaction of Ncell shares. The order, issued by a single bench led by Judge Purushottam Prasad Dhakal on Thursday, prohibits Ncell, a prominent private sector telecom company in Nepal, from proceeding with the share transaction.
The court emphasized the necessity for the company to obtain regulatory approval and has mandated a halt in Ncell’s shares trading until December 11.

The controversy stems from Axiata Group’s recent announcement of its exit from Ncell, its partner since 2016. Axiata had acquired 80 percent of Reynolds Holding’s shares in Ncell for Rs 143 billion. The abrupt selling of the same shares for a mere 4.65 percent of the purchase price, equivalent to a staggering 95.35 percent reduction in the sale price, has raised suspicions of ulterior motives aimed at securing undue benefits.

Responding to a case filed against Ncell’s current investor Axiata and the owner and manager of Sunivera Capital Ventures, considered a local partner, the Patan High Court has intervened with a short-term order against the deal. The writ petitioner alleges that the transaction involves embezzlement of foreign currency and money laundering.

The court’s decision to temporarily halt the share transaction underscores the gravity of the allegations and the need for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deal. Stakeholders and the public await further legal proceedings to unfold, as the controversy surrounding Ncell’s share transaction continues to unfold. Stay tuned for updates on this developing story.