15 June 2017

Gambia: Daily Observer Ordered to Close Amid Unpaid Tax Scandal

The Daily Observer newspaper on Wednesday afternoon, June 14 was asked by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) to cease operation with immediate effect due to long term unpaid taxes.

The news company's managing director Pa Modou Mbowe confirmed the closure of the paper. He explained that the GRA officials joined by two police ordered them to close because they have not been paying tax to the state.

"Since 2004 the company has not been paying tax to GRA which is true. However, I inherited this as managing director because I took over the company on the 19 December, 2016," Mbowe said.

The MD informed that Observer has owed the state's revenue collector the sum of over 17 million dalasis which were accumulated from 2004. He said the company also owed other institutions over One Hundred Thousand dalasis. According to him, it is not possible to settle these debts while they are closed.

He decried that the closure will affect over 100 staff including both freelancers and staff journalists as well as the production unit.

Mr. Mbowe however, refused to comment on who owns the company amid consistently linking it with the former president Yahya Jammeh. He said that is not important to him as at now and what his concern is the situation of his populated staff who will be put out of work.

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