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Monday, October 19, 2020

NAM Ceesay urges Gov’t to come clean on Semlex

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By Omar Bah

The National Assembly Member for Serekunda West, Madi Ceesay, has vowed to initiate summoning of the Gambia government before the national assembly if it fails to immediately launch an independent inquiry into the awarding of the country’s national documents to Semlex.

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“My position in the whole saga is that the government should have a private inquiry into the awarding of the contract. But if they insist that they will not comply, I can rely on the national assembly executive powers on section 77 subsection 4 to summon the ministry responsible,” he told journalists recently at his Manjai residence.

He continued: “All I am interested in is transparency, because I felt something wrong is going on and it should be corrected immediately. It is disheartening that for over a year Gambians are going without ID Cards and other important documents.”
Hon. Ceesay said the facts he gathered about the contract are so clumsy and that he is convinced that the signing of the contract was not done through a proper course.

He said it will be disheartening for the government to award such a contract to print the country’s most important documents, which includes; ID Cards, Passports and driving license to a company that is under investigation for alleged corruption and money laundering.
Ceesay said the company’s credibility is questionable, adding that “recently the Comoros Island have cancelled one hundred and fifty passports printed by the company over suspicious corrupt practices.”
The Company, Mr Ceesay added is also under police investigation in Belgium for alleged corruption and money laundering.

“I believe as a member of parliament I cannot have such information and still see my government award such an important contract to the company,” he said.
He said although the country may risk paying certain liability to the Belgian company that should not be used as an excuse to award the contract to Semlex.

“Yes there might be financial implications if government terminates the contract, but what about the integrity of the government? How can we entrust such a contract to a company that is being or has been investigated for corruption and money laundering?”
He said if countries like Comoros Island, Guinea Bissau and Zimbabwe are terminating their contracts with Semlex based on corruption, “Gambia should not be an exception.”
Meanwhile a government statement last week said the contract is being reviewed.

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