The family of the late Baba Jobe has staked a fresh claim to the ownership of the Observer newspaper company and said they want to meet the Justice minister and the head of the national revenue authority to resolve its “legal and rightful ownership”.
Fanding ‘Dada’ Jobe, a younger brother to the late Jarra politician, visited The Standard offices yesterday morning following the publication of the high court order to close the company and the intention of the sheriff division of the court to sell off its assets following a litigatory action lodged by the Gambia Revenue Authority, GRA.
Mr Jobe said documents at the Attorney General’s Chambers “have clearly shown” that the Observer Company belongs to Baba Jobe. “We do not only have the documentation that the company belongs to us, but we also have living witnesses who were privy to all the goings-on to prove that Baba actually owns Observer,” he said.
Mr Jobe, a farmer and businessman based in their native Karantaba, said the Jobe family found it curious that they have been completely sidelined in the recent negotiations between the GRA, Observer management and the courts.
“We feel as the rightful owners, we should have been contacted by the government and the GRA to sit down and resolve the issues and chart a way forward to putting the Observer on a proper footing,” he said.
Dada Jobe said the “Observer has to pay taxes like any other business” outfit and opined that although the tax liability is “sinfully high”, the Observer “in the hands of the right management” would be able to liquidate it eventually.
He added: “Baba Jobe and his family have not benefited a butut from the Observer. It is only Yahya Jammeh and the managers he appointed there who squandered the resources and refused to pay the taxes.”
Dada Jobe said after his brother fell out with Yahya Jammeh and was incarcerated in 2003, “the vindictive” former president appropriated all of Baba’s assets including “even cattle”, most of which was owned by Baba’s mother after she inherited it in 1974. Dada said the former Lower River Region governor Modou Soma Jobe and Chief Yaya Jaurjusey “are on in this racket perpetrated by Jammeh against Baba”.
He said it will be a gross dereliction of duty on the part of the Jobe family to meekly surrender their right to fight for what belongs to them.
Meanwhile, The Standard has learnt that the lawyer for the Jobe family has visited the GRA offices yesterday. It is not known whether it was in connection with the Observer case.