By Lamin Cham
The Sheriff Division of the High Court yesterday attached the offices and properties of the Daily Observer Company in execution of a court order in favour of the Gambia Revenue Authority, GRA.
The head of the Sheriff Division, Sheriff Tabally arrived at the premises with his staff accompanied by officials of the GRA and their legal representative.
As soon as they arrived, they went to see Augustus Prom, whose accounting firm is the overseer of the company after it was frozen by the state pending investigations into Jammeh’s assets which allegedly include the company.
After about half an hour of talks, the visitors proceeded to ask every staff to leave the premises along with all their personal belongings.
According to Sheriff Tabally, his office is executing a court order and has nothing to do with ongoing or stalled negotiations between the previous management and the GRA.
“This is purely a court order to attach the premises with a view to selling off its properties to recover the judgment sum, simple,” he told The Standard at the gate of the company.
Asked if this development means all negotiations between the GRA and the Daily Observer management have failed, the sheriff said his office is not part of any such negotiations and are not aware of it.
On the plight of the more than 90 members of staff who are now jobless, the Sheriff said inasmuch as they sympathise with the employees, his office cannot do anything about that because they are only enforcing a court order. ”Our hands are equally tied when it comes to that. Our job is strictly to execute a court order,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, as the members of staff trooped down holding their belongings, some of them said the decision to close it makes very little sense. ”If you close down a business which has not been able to pay her staff for three months and from which you are asking payment, how would it get money to pay? We have not been paid our salaries for the last three months and with this development now how are we going to be paid? I think this whole business is not making sense to me at all,” one member of staff remarked yesterday.
Others called on the government to look into the plight of the staff who are “innocent” in this entire episode and whose salaries have not be paid for three months. “Government needs to look into our situation and address our concern as citizens of The Gambia. There has to be a way out of this for the staff whose jobs are at stake,” said another employee.