Report calls for overhaul of 'chaotic' Asiacell accounts

30 November 2007
The finances of Qtel's Iraqi subsidiary, Asiacell, need to be completely overhauled because the financial accounts are in chaos, according to a report commissioned by Asiacell's previous shareholders: Wataniya Telecom, United Gulf Bank and Kurdish businessman Faruk Rasool.

Asiacell has 3.7 million mobile phone subscribers in Iraq. Its chaotic accounts were uncovered by liquidators in a document that has only just come to light. The report by PricewaterhouseCoopers says: “Our ability to undertake a proper valuation is restricted by the lack of financial data, the inability to conduct full-site evaluations, the lack of audited financial statements since the inception of Asiacell in 2003, unreconciled, unreliable and changing balance sheets and supporting financial data.”

The accountants cite problems with asset registers, and accounts payable and receivable ledgers, which are further complicated by the alleged co-mingling of assets and liabilities between Asiacell and Rasool's holding company, Asiacell Iraq.

Wataniya was forced out of Asiacell earlier this year when Rasool put the company into voluntary liquidation.
Rasool reconstituted the company in August with Qtel, rather than Wataniya, as his strategic partner.
Qtel's own auditors were forced to qualify the Qatari operator's accounts soon after.

Qtel's chief executive officer, Nasser Marafih, says his company is working with its partners to enhance the reporting and accounting process in Asiacell.

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