Daily Observer ordered to close amid unpaid tax scandal


The Daily Observer newspaper on Wednesday afternoon, June 14, 2017 was asked by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) to cease operation with immediate effect due to long term unpaid taxes.


By Kebba Jeffang

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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Foroyaa Newspaper, 15.06.2017

Daily Observer has been closed but it is not yet clear whether the company will be allowed to operate if they pay all the taxes they owe. If the proprietors decide to mobilise the finances needed to pay all the taxes due it would be in the interest of media pluralism that the newspaper continues to operate. The state will also be able to recover the millions owed to it.

Democracy thrives when many flowers blossom, when all sorts of views contend, when a wide variety of media outlets are allowed to show their worth.

There is also the issue of employees to be laid off, though not the fault of the state it is a reality. In short it makes more sense to get Daily Observer to pay and retain the employees.