Back in April 6th, 2001, the then Commissioner of Income Tax, issued a DEMAND NOTE and FINAL WARNING to the leader of Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP’s) Ousainou Darboe, to settle his income tax liabilities to the Gambian state, amounting to over D446, 865. 56 before August 11th 2001, or risked being found guilty of tax evasion under Gambian tax laws, a sixteen year old document obtained by the Freedom Newspaper has revealed. Mr. Darboe, who is Gambia’s Foreign Minister, is also a career lawyer by profession. The outstanding tax arrears at the time represents monies Mr. Darboe and his law firm owed to the state. His party, the UDP, had to chip in to bailout the politician, so that he can clear his tax arrears in order for him to be able to present himself, as a Presidential candidate in the October 18th, 2001 presidential elections.
In 2013, a Gambia Government White Paper Commission of Inquiry Report published by the former Jammeh government also listed Mr. Darboe, as among the nation’s income tax defaulters. The politician, was said to have owed the state close to D2 Million dalasi. Mr. Darboe went to court to challenge the government tax evasion findings against him, but there was no definitive ruling delivered on his appeal for the findings to be set aside.
New Jersey Accounting Professor Dr. Lamin Conteh’s, reaction to Mr. Darboe’s alleged 2013 tax arrears to the Gambian state was unequivocal. He says the monthly salary of Gambia’s Foreign Minister and UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, should be garnished by the Adama Barrow government, because the politician is owing back taxes to the state in the tune of close to D 2 Million dalasi. Mr. Conteh, who was speaking during an interview with Freedom Radio Gambia on Tuesday, said the new Barrow government should recover taxes owed to the state by the likes of Darboe and co.
“ Ousainou Darboe’s wages should be garnished. If the Daily Observer can be penalized for not paying taxes, why not Lawyer Darboe, the leader of the opposition United Democratic Party, and also our Foreign Minister? I just don’t get it. He should pay up his back taxes,” Dr. Conteh, an Accounting Professor tells Freedom Radio Gambia.
Mr. Conteh was shocked about the over two billion dalasi income tax liabilities owed to the state by income tax evaders in the country. Leading members of the Bar, hotel owners, Insurance Companies, and private health facilities were among those listed as tax defaulters.
“I was talking to a Friend, and the issue of Darboe evading taxes some years ago, came up in our conversation. I couldn’t understand how comes that he has been found evading taxes for the second time. I believe in the Commission Report. He owed close to D 2 million dalasi. He should pay up or have his salary garnished. It is not fair for the Barrow government to go after the Daily Observer and leave defaulters like Darboe,” he said
With today’s revelations on Mr. Darboe’s 2001, back taxes, many would be tempted to ask: Why on earth would Ousainou Darboe repeat the same alleged offence twice? You guess is as good as ours.
Mr. Darboe could not be reached for comment. The document was obtained from reliable sources.
Earlier on, during our Tuesday prime time news analysis show, a caller, who wished to remain anonymous asked our Editor, if he could organize a debate between Ousainou Darboe, Halifa Sallah, OJ Jallow and others on the issue of nonpayment of income taxes. The caller said Mr. Darboe, should be challenged as to why he has not been paying his fair share to the state. The caller also said he has a document in his possession linking Mr. Darboe to tax evasion.