Gambia: Belgian Company Semlex Reacts To Allegations Of Buying Out Gambian Gov’t Officials!


Pa, I work in the heart of the government and know what transpires in our country. I can tell you for sure that Semlex has not been awarded any contract.  It is in fact the opposite. Almost all the government Ministers are opposed to having such a company awarded a contract in our country whilst skipping Gambians who can do the work cheaper and better. 


As we speak, the company is desperate in trying to get the Gambia project but it is being rejected. So, it is now resorting to generating fake news in order to appear that it has won the project. 

In fact, the company only has 1 person in support of it and that is Mai Fatty, the Interior Minister.  He has been trying to convince the cabinet to support him to award the contract to Semlex but it has been denied. It has emerged that Mai took…. Euro  from Semlex and he secretly visited the Semlex office in Brussels where the …. was provided.  This is why Mai acts like an employee of the company and is constantly selling the company to his colleagues and even to the extent of lying in National Assembly that if the contract is not given to Semlex, the Gambian government has to pay $100 million.  This was found out to be a lie by Mai Fatty to scare the government into giving the contract to Semlex. 

Semlex is a company with a history of ….and …..African politicians according to the very respected Reuters news agencies.  Here is the story .  You will see that the well respected is reporting that in Congo, the bribed paid was $700,000 but Mai’s bribe was only 60,000 euros. Check this link out: .

In Mozambique where Semlex is being kicked out this is the conclusion of an official investigation into the company: “Passport contract to be cancelled".

The shambles caused by the award of a dubious contract for producing passports and identity cards has continued since the contract was awarded to Semlex in 2009. Problems including waiting time increased from 15 to 90 days were exposed in a report by the Public Integrity Centre (Centro de Integridade Publica, CIP) two years ago in a report “How not to do a public-private partnership“.

Savana (14 Apr) reported that government is finally trying to cancel the contract. The final straw appears to be a corrupt network of Semlex staff selling documents, including diplomatic passports. Savana says that South Africa authorities reported to Mozambique that in one week earlier this year, 1500 Mozambicans crossed the border with diplomatic passports. It also reports that although it receives more than half the income from identity cards and passports, Semlex has still only invested $25 mn of the $100mn promised in the 10 year contract and the two regional processing centres have never been opened. Semlex retains total control over the software and processing”.

This is carried in this link also from Africanews:  . The official report about the corruption of Semlex in Mozambique can be read here:  but be warned that it is in Portuguese. 

The sad fact for our country is that Semlex has …..a lot of officials in our government too including the PS of Interior and the PS of MOICI in addition to the Minister of Interior. Even secretaries have been…… Our journalists are also being …..not to report negative news on Semlex. 

In fact  Semlex is being investigated for prosecution by the Belgian government.  You can read this in this report also by Reuters:

I encourage all Gambians to read this story by Reuters to see why we need to kick Semlex out of our country before they become a cancer for us.  All of this information is in the public domain and can be discovered through a simple Google search. But Semlex think that they can hoodwink us because we are Africans and therefore stupid.  But I can assure you that the best sons and daughters of The Gambia are all united to make sure that we turn a new page and develop our country without corruption.  The Barrow administration should be commended for rejecting Semlex and their corrupt officials and enablers. 

Written By Gambia’s Deep Throat

Editors note: We edited some of the allegations contained in the report due to editorial reasons. Mr. Mai Fatty could not be reached for his own side of the story. Below is a reaction from the Semlex management. 

Written By Ralph Hajjar

    1. That, Semlex was never granted a contract by the Gambia government to issue bio-metric passports and ID cards to Gambians. Your response?

Answer – Semlex was granted the contract for Bio-metric ID Cards & other services by the previous Government after a multi-sectoral task force considered our offer together other offers and deemed our proposal better for Gambia from a technical & financial point of view. This contract was terminated without cause in clear violation of the express terms of our agreement. We were subsequently invited again by the new ministry and I met the task force. As it stands, we are aware that our proposal was sent to Cabinet for approval and we have not signed a contract contrary to what was reported.  We trust the process is transparent despite all the noise and slander campaign meted out by parties with vested interests. We are waiting patiently for the competent authorities to communicate their decision at the right time.

    2. That, Cabinet never approved your request. That, Interior Minister Mai Fatty, is the only one in cabinet lobbying to have your company granted license to operate in the country. How true is this?

We are not in Cabinet and not privy to what is approved or not approved by Cabinet. The Honourable Minister is not our lobbyist. We have no relationship whatsoever with him . We are dealing with the institution and the permanent secretary is our point of the contact as the head of the administration. Our dealings with Government is official and at arm’s length. I challenge anyone to substantiate these baseless allegations. Ask any Minister whether I have visited them or their offices to lobby for Semlex. Our product, service and experience speaks for itself. We have a proven track record in this sector and not rookies trying or pretending to be experts.

    3. That, Semlex is allegedly using money to bribe Gambian government official so that clearance can be given to okay your operations in the county. How true is that?

This is false, baseless and malicious. This is coming from interested parties who do not have the guts or temerity to say it publicly or openly because we will sue them for slander/libel if they dare make baseless allegations without any factual basis. Unfortunately, some of your own members (journalists/bloggers) have not even bothered to hear Semlex’s side of the story and clearly have vested interests. This is not professional journalism.

    4. Has your company ever bribed a Gambia government officials 65,000 Euros to help expedite the process of allowing your company to operate in the country?

 Semlex has never bribed any Gambian official. This is so ridiculous! we have heard of this story going around and we challenge the gossip mongers to substantiate this claim or make it public. We will defend our name in public and will take the necessary steps to seek redress. I believe you mean Euro65,000.00 not 65,000,0000

    5. When was Semlex granted the green light to issue biometric passports and ID cards to Gambians? Who approved it?

Not true, we are not in the passport game as far as Gambia is concerned. Another company is doing the passport and we have no affiliation whatsoever with them

    6. Has your company ever dealt with President Kabila’s government of Congo?

No. As a company, we dealt with the Government of Congo. Contrary to all the rumours, we don’t determine the price of passports, countries do. we have signed a contract in DRC to produce e-passports. After a process of consultation to different companies ( Gemalto, Iris, Zetes ) it appears that we were the best choice. The contract was approved by the authorities and signed by the ministry of foreign affairs.

    7. How affordable are your services?

We are present in more than 20 countries around the world. Where we produce different documents for many governmental agencies. Our model to support governments on the long term in their mission has been a total success, as we take care of all aspects. Today many competitors are trying to follow our model but never with our experience. Our prices are negotiated and accepted by the host government in this case the Gambia. The final price of the id document will always be determined by the host government.

    8. Reuters recently reported that your company was under investigations in Belgium. How true is the story?

This is blatantly untrue. We are a going concern registered in Belgium and have all the required certifications from the Belgian authorities. We enjoy good relations with multilateral associations/institutions such as IATA, Interpol, European commission. Visit our website or next time you are in Europe visit our offices in Belgium to appreciate what type of company we are. We are not a brief case company. We have a track record and the financial capacity to execute Build Operate and Transfer projects that guarantees quality. I can send our sample cards for you to compare with what you had in the Gambia.

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Freedom Newspaper, 19.07.2017

Hi Pa,

It appears that Semlex might have had their project proposal approved by the Jammeh regime but a contract was not signed to that effect at the time. If there was a contract signed then it is in the best interest of Semlex to produce it for verification.

It is one thing to have an approval whether verbal or written and yet another to having a binding contract signed by all parties where all the conditions and scope of the contract are detailed including a clearly spelt out condition of the ‘Termination Clause” inbuilt in the contract document.

Pa, this new government should be extremely careful of companies that specialize in going to African government back doors obtain a contract on projects that Government do not call for national and international biddings. They have the habit of unethically obtaining contracts with inducements to officials.

They will then start the project and at some point when they sees it financially fit to take Governments to international courts they will start playing technical and contractual games to upset the host African governments to terminate the contract. They will then turn around take Governments to International courts and obtain several millions of $USD compensation awards for bridge of contract judgment.

There are many past and pending international tribunal and arbitration court cases against African governments for bridge of contracts. The sad part of it is that most of these unethical companies are resident in the Western world and can obtain cheap lawyers whiles African governments have to pay huge sums to expensive lawyers and still end up loosing the case or settling for huge sums out of courts.

To cap it all if an African country refuses or delays in paying judgment sums or out of court settlement sums the IMF and the World Bank will step in to make governments respect their international obligations failing which some of their multilateral funding will be affected. That is why African governments are now advice strictly to always put government projects on international bidding process and always conduct proper due diligence on the bidding companies.

Pa, African countries have the bad reputation of having corrupt governments and as such when taken to International courts most of the time they end up loosing and condemned to pay damages to the complainant companies or settle out court. In any case as soon as a conclusion is reached, pressure is put unto them to settle failing which other consequences fall in.

It is against the bad and sad experience that African governments should do away from awarding project contract without international or national bidding process and proper due diligence conducted on bidding companies.

We hope the new government will not take this financially risky route in awarding government contracts.

Written By A Senior Retired Citizen.