EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The controversy surrounding the assignment of Semlex group for the production of national documents appears to have started getting swollen as the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) ordered the closure of the company for tax evasion dispute.
Hundreds of applicants of national documents found all doors of Semlex headquarters in Kanifing shut with the presence of revenue enforcement police in the area Monday morning.
The new government initially cancelled the controversial contract awarded by the Jammeh administration that offered the Belgium-based Company to issue biometric identification and border control systems.
The five-year agreement grants Semlex a 70 percent share of the profits, a move that was highly criticized by civil society organizations.
Apart from national security and safety concerns due to the contract, it was argued that the Gambian owned Pristine Consulting was a better option.
As of January, this year, over one hundred and fifty-five million dalasi (more than three million dollar) has been generated from the issuance of national Identification cards biometric passports, according to The Gambia Immigration Department.
The articles of agreement between the Government of The Gambia offer Semlex tax weaver on importation of products and services during the contract period.
“Semlex shall be exempted from paying any customs duties or taxes on equipment, machinery accessories, materials of supply (including motor vehicles) imported temporally or permanently into The Gambia for the purpose for the designing, building, maintenance and operation of the infrastructure of the project,” it states.
The Gambia Revenue Authority is holding press conference later today to detail out the basis for the closure of the document production company.