Monday, March 26, 2018

SEMLEX must be banned from ever doing business in The Gambia

Semlex CEO
If local reporting is correct, the signing of the contract between the Government of Adama Barrow and Semlex scheduled to have taken place last Thursday, 22nd March, has been aborted.

According to local newspaper reports, the entire contract award procedure is being reviewed by the government of Adama Barrow.  If true, it is the most welcomed development since the Semlex saga started since Ousman Sonko illegally and unilaterally award the contract to the Syrian-Belgian company.

When Jammeh discovered that his former Interior Minister had awarded the contract to Semlex without his knowledge, he ordered the contract terminated until the Barrow government decided to reinstate Semlex against our advice based on the company's disreputable business practices.

This decision led us to ask the question of why is Semlex being forced down out throats despite accusations that the company has been selling diplomatic passports to non-nationals of countries where it has been conducting similar business.  You can see that blog post here.  Semlex is currently under investigation in Belgium which has led to the raiding of its  Brussels offices and the home of the CEO in January this year.

Semlex's contracts have been terminated in Guinea-Bissau, Comoro Islands and Mozambique where its performance have been found wanting.  Its contract with the DRC has come under intense scrutiny.  In the case of Mozambique, it took the South African Immigration authorities to alert Mozambique when over one hundred persons claiming to be Mozambican citizens crossing the border on diplomatic passports.  An audit was conducted that revealed that diplomatic passports were indeed being sold to Mozambicans and non-Mozambicans alike. 

If it is true that the contract signing with Semlex has been aborted, we strongly urge the Barrow government to withdraw any offer that has been made and ban Semlex from ever conducting business in The Gambia.  Its past business practices alone is justification for a permanent ban.

The Gambia's drug trafficking past should be reason enough for the Barrow government to sever all ties with companies that have or a suspected to have a murky past.  Our national identification documents - our passports, national IDs and voter's card - should not be vested in the care of shady company's for national security reasons.

The sub-region is currently grappling with terror threats and infested with drug traffickers.  We cannot add to our owes by having our national identification documents being printed by a less than a reputable company with a proveable sterling record.

Despite all these negative public reports about the company, the Barrow government decided to proceed with the Semlex contract.  It is for this reason that the Right2Know (Gambia) a civic group had requested the National Assembly to conduct an inquiry into events that led to the decision of the government to award the contract to Semlex after the previous regime of Yaya Jammeh terminated the contract that was inappropriately and illegally awarded to Semlex.  Gambians want to know.  They have the right to know.