The Federal Court of Audit (TCU) has ruled that BCP, BSE, Americel and Maxitel (Region 9) owe the Union some 803 million Brazilian Reals because their license contracts were ?illegally altered? by the Communications Ministry to waive interest and adjustments for inflation on installments of their license fees. The problem didn?t occur with any other B-band carriers because the TCU warned Anatel in time to reverse the alterations in those cases. The four carriers cited by the Court had already finished paying for their licenses.
When Brazil sold B band in 1997, the draft license contract called for payment of installments every 12 months plus interest and adjustment for inflation. Just before the contracts were signed, however, the Communications Ministry altered the wording to remove any reference to interest and inflation. Upon examining Americel?s contract, the TCU found that the Union had incurred significant losses due to the alteration. In 1999 the Court asked Anatel to reinstate the original clauses even for licensees that had paid several installments. Anatel complied except in the four cases cited because they no longer owed any installments. The TCU took up the case again, and on Wednesday, July 31, ruled that the four should also have to pay interest and inflation adjustments, giving Anatel two weeks to alter their contracts accordingly. Judge Adylson Motta, rapporteur for the case, found non-payment of the following amounts due in March 1998: BCP 257.4m BRL, BSE 116.1m BRL, Americel 35.2m BRL, Maxitel 8.6m BRL. The TCU calculates the total present value as 803m BRL and means to recover the debt. In addition, the Court announced that it will perform a similar analysis on NBT?s contract for Region 8.