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:-

Tax:

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”.

In Conclusion:

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:-

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

 

Dida Jallow-Halake,

Notting Hill, UK.

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INTERESTING POINT REPORT

Why does the Point streneously avoid mentioning that Amadou Samba’s name was always on the back page of the Daily Observer as “PROPRIETOR”??? Why doesn’t the HEADLINE also include Amadou Samba – whose name has always been on the back page as “PROPRIETOR”??

Is Daily Observer owned by Jammeh or Baba Jobe?

The Point, Friday, June 16, 2017

Since the buying of Daily Observer by Amadou Samba, the real ownership of the newspaper has been a puzzle. Mr Samba is a prominent businessman and lawyer who was one of the staunch supporters of the government of former President Yahya Jammeh.

The Daily Observer was originally established by Kennet Best, a Liberian journalist who sought refuge in The Gambia at the height of the Liberian war.  The newspaper was launched on 11 May 1992 as the first daily newspaper in The Gambia.

According to records, on 10 May 1999, Mr Samba bought the newspaper for D1 million and in the same year, the Liberian owner of the paper was deported back to Liberia as the relationship between him and the military junta that took over the country in 1994 was soured.

Mr Samba became the publisher of the newspaper until 1 August 2002 when he made ownership transfer to the late Baba Jobe, a renowned politician during Jammeh’s regime who died in custody in 2012.  Baba was one of the strongest executive members of the former ruling APRC party.

According to family sources, the Daily Observer still legally belongs to the late Baba Jobe and all the necessary documents of the ownership are with the Jobe family.

However, the family said they do not know anything about the financial issues and management of the newspaper.

According to government sources, for several years, all the editors-in-chief and managing directors of the Daily Observer were appointed by former President Jammeh and he is also said to be the owner of the current office of the newspaper.

During the 22 years of Mr Jammeh, the newspaper had a lot of privileges and apparently, one of it was them was non-payment of tax with impunity.

It should be noted that for several years, the name of the publisher has been on the back page of the newspaper, as required by the Newspaper Act.

The act requires that the name of the publisher(s) and editor-in-chief be written on the back page of every newspaper and for every edition.

On Wednesday, Daily Observer was ordered by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) to close down for two weeks.

The temporarily closure was as a result of the newspaper’s non-compliance with its tax obligations.

A GRA source said the newspaper owed more than D17 million in accumulated tax arrears as it had not been paying tax for the past several years.  The revenue authority also said it needs to know who really owns Observer for future dealings with the company.

Source: Picture: The Late Baba Jobe and Former President Jammeh