Observer Must Pay Taxes and Be Registered Properly
Daily Observer Possibly Traded Illegally Since It Was Taken From Baba Jobe!
When I briefly took over as MD of the Daily Observer between November 2007 and June 2008, there was a fight between Amadou Samba and myself from day one about the financial situation at the Observer Company. The issues were as follows:-
I was shown payment for 2007 of a mere (50,000 dalasis) by my Deputy and Financial Controller Andrew Dacosta. Whether that tax was correct I do not know as Observer had an annual turnover of over 10,000,000 dalasis. Of course my tenure was brief (thank God) and I was not there long enough to assess any tax payment to GRA.
Company Registration and ownership:
Amadou Samba and I had some tape recorded arguments over this. He denied owning it and asked me to remove his name (taped). The Board Chairman, Neneh, said Amadou Samba was acting for Jammeh as “proprietor”(taped). I demanded Company Registration documents from Amadou Samba to know who owned it and he referred me to Mrs. Jallow at Attorney General’s Chambers Company Registration (taped). I could not get anything from Mrs. Jallow (NOT taped). I was removed as MD soon after asking these questions – and I refused the “order” (brought to me by my friend and a very good man IGP Benedict Jammeh – NOT taped). When I refused the post of Editor-in-Chief, and IGP Benedict Jammeh failed to arrest me, he too was sacked the next day and I was detained for 14 days. So, during my time, the very legality of Daily Observer trading as a company, let alone the tax issue, was in doubt.
Baba Jobe ownership:
It is my understanding that, at the height of his power, Baba Jobe assigned 99% of the shares of the Daily Observer to himself – and Amadou Samba owned the other 1%. Baba Jobe, I understand, registered the company properly at the Attorney General’s Chambers. After Baba Jobe was arrested, Yaya Jammeh delegated Amadou Samba to “manage” for Jammeh everything Baba Jobe “managed”. I think Amadou Samba may not have bothered to regularise the registration documents at the Attorney General’s Chambers – inspite of the fact that Amadou Samba was listed as the “proprietor”.
Much of the blah blah about the Daily Observer’s current predicament on Gambian On-Line media seems to be pure “anti-authority” FAKE NEWS. The facts are:-
- Daily Observer needs to pay the tax it owes to the State. It is silly for Daily Observer to offer “free advertisement” as payment! And it is silly for Daily Observer to ask “Why now?”!! Quite simply, the BANDIT Yahya Jammeh shielded his companies and friends from paying taxes.
- The Bandit Yahya Jammeh also sent FAKE TAX demands to his enemies such as Lawyer Darboe – the same FAKE TAX demands that on-line FAKE NEWS VENDERS are using against Lawyer Darboe.
- Daily Observer needs to be properly registered as a Newspaper under Gambian Law – that means with KNOWN OWNERS. If Daily Observer fails to registered properly it cannot operate as a newspaper. Simple as.
- Daily Observer’s only hope really is to be bought by a tycoon like Muhammad Jah who can settle with the Gambia Tax Authority – and have enough funds to run the paper. The current management and owners simply do NOT have the funds to run the paper – most of them income anyway came from “HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT” Jammeh, etc, etc, ADS that Companies and Government Departments HAD TO put in the Daily Observer ( and the POINT!!) for the “BIG MAN” to see. In the current political climate, a pro-Daily Observer will be unlikely to get much ADS revenue – and activists have called for the Daily Observer to be boycotted.
- In short, to survive, Daily Observer needs new owners with DEEP POCKETS – and needs to distance itself from the APRC to earn any ADS income.
Notting Hill, UK.