(FORNEBU, 12 December 2016) During the past days, media has approached Telenor ASA with questions regarding cases uncovered by Group Internal Audit, currently being handled internally or under investigation by local government. In this release, Telenor ASA accounts for these cases. Two of the three cases were commented on by Telenor in April, this year.
dtac in Thailand
dtac and Telenor announced in April, 2016, that dtac through its internal audit function had discovered deviations linked to site lease agreements in Thailand. dtac therefore hired PWC to conduct an external review. Their investigations showed that some local partners were unable to provide sufficient documentation of ownership of the land where the base stations are located. The rental agreements were according to common industrial practice in Thailand, but was not in line with Telenor’s internal guidelines. dtac has therefore changed its rental agreement routines and initiated a process to ensure that ownership is clearly documented in all rental agreements. This work will be concluded in 2017.
Reporting of suspicions of financial crimes
Telenor Group Internal Audit has uncovered matters related to suspicions of financial crimes and reported them to the local police in one of our markets. Due to the investigation, Telenor has been asked by local authorities not to comment any further on the case at this point.
Grameenphone in Bangladesh
Telenor Group Internal Audit in May 2016, uncovered that 11 of 250 sponsorship agreements broke with the company’s internal guidelines. Breaches of our internal guidelines are unacceptable, and corrective and preventive measures have therefore been initiated.
The first time Telenor Group Internal Audit uncovered unacceptable sponsorships in Grameenphone, was in 2013. The most serious breach was the sponsorship of a sports tournament, related to the Bangladeshi military. The case was reported to Sigve Brekke, who at that time was head of Asia and Chair of the Grameenphone Board of Directors. The company initiated several measures, including a review of the sponsorship guidelines and the establishment of a sponsorship committee to approve all sponsorships.
In 2016, Telenor Group Internal Audit conducted a compliance review of the new guidelines and uncovered a new set of unacceptable sponsorships. The agreements included sponsorships of sports tournaments, the security police’s jubilee celebrations, the refurbishment of their canteen as well as financial support to a phone book publication for the police.
As soon as the audit was completed in June, the findings were reported to Telenor CEO, Sigve Brekke, and to the Chair of the Board, Gunn Wærsted. All agreements in breach of the sponsorship policy have been terminated. External legal advisors have completed two independent legal reviews of case. No payment to individuals have been detected. Telenor still acknowledges that this case could have been followed-up closer after 2013. At the same time, it is positive to see that our internal control mechanisms work, ensuring that such matters are uncovered and handled.
Telenor is currently further strengthening our routines for allocating sponsorships. The Board of Directors in Telenor ASA has previously processed and considered Sigve Brekke’s involvement in the case and regards it as concluded with regards to Brekke’s handling.
See separate report for further details about Grameenphone case on www.telenor.com