By Yankuba Jallow
The ‘Daily Observer’ newspaper company has been closed for the second time by officials from the Gambia Revenue Authority, Police officers and staff from the Sheriff division respectively.
This is the second time the Company has been ordered to cease operations barely two months from the initial closure, by GRA.
The staff of the news company were asked to pack up and locked the doors. They were told that there is an order from the court presided over by Justice Basirou Mahoney of the Banjul high court, for it to be closed down.
By the time, this reporter visited the premises of the Company, the staff had already left and the premise was locked. The Managing Director of the company was relieved of his duties on 8th August 2017 and now the audit firm, Augustus Prom, has been entrusted with the affairs of the company. The company is said to have been earlier dragged to court by the GRA on tax liabilities on July 31, 2017.
The Revenue Authority in its particulars of claim, asked the company to pay tax liabilities worth at D17,473,584.47 (seventeen million and four hundred and seventy three thousand, five hundred and eighty four dalasis and forty seven bututs) being the amount owed by the plaintiff to the defendant.
In addition, the revenue authority claims corporate income tax, sales tax, value added tax and payroll tax from January 2007 to December 2016.
Furthermore, the revenue authority claims an interest of 25% from January 2007 to December 2016, until the date of payment including the final claim, cost.
It could be recalled that on June 14, 2016, the Company was tentatively closed down by the Gambia Revenue Authority. The Company is now sued to court for nonpayment of tax amounting to over 17 million dalasi, monies which the Company could pay to the Revenue Authority except on a settlement plan.
The staff of Daily Observer converged on July 24, at the Observer Office expressing their dissatisfaction with their senior management and ask them to resign due to incompetency.
The Company (Observer) is one of the largest Media Houses in the country that has about a hundred staff including freelance journalists, marketing officers and security agents as well as a printing press. The company like many other news media, publishes paper daily.