The Gambian Parliament has initiated an investigation into the “purported donation of the sum of US$752,544.42 to the Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation by a company placing a bid for a contract in The Gambia, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Invoking Section 108 (2) (B) of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia, the House Committee said it will investigate the following issues of public importance: The circumstances leading to the award and the implementation of a contract for the production of ID cards, Driving Licence, Visa stickers and residential permit to Semlex Europe SA; the purported donation of the sum of US$752,544.42 to the Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation by a company placing a bid for a contract in The Gambia. The Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation having been set up by the First Lady of The Gambia is subject to the purview of the National Assembly.
Below is a document about the said investigations coming from Gambia’s National Assembly. It was forwarded to us by a source.
The undermentioned members of the National Assembly bring forth a motion pursuant to the provisions of the Section 109 (2)(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, 1997 for the following:
- That a Committee of the National Assembly be established to investigate the following issues of public importance:
- The circumstances leading to the award and the implementation of a contract for the production of ID cards, Driving Licence, Visa stickers and residential permit to Semlex Europe SA;
- The purported donation of the sum of US$752,544.42 to the Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation by a company placing a bid for a contract in The Gambia. The Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow Foundation having been set up by the First Lady of The Gambia is subject to the purview of the National Assembly.
- The donation of 57 vehicles by an anonymous donor to the members of the National Assembly.
- The granting by the Government of The Gambia through the Commissioner General of Customs to Fouta Enterprises of a bonded warehouse for the importation of basic commodities and the occupation by the said Fouta Enterprise of a bonded warehouse situate at Kanifing Industrial Estate, which warehouse has been sold by the Assets Management and Recovery Corporation (AMRC) to a third party and further which warehouse is the subject of an investigation by the Janneh Commission.
- The investigations into the above issues are necessary for the following reasons:
- There is clear evidence that Semlex SA is the subject matter of an investigation by the Belgian authorities for money laundering. Further there are several allegations against Semlex Europe SA by other countries with whom it entered into contracts for the production of biometric national documents. Notable amongst the allegations against Semlex Europe SA, the allegation from the Comoros that foreign citizens deemed security threats were being issued with Comoros passports. There are also other allegation of corruption particularly with respect to its dealings in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. By the award of the contract, Semlex Europe SA will have access to the biometric data of Gambian citizens. It is therefore of utmost public importance that this Assembly carry out investigations into the award of the contract and to ensure that the data if its citizens will not be used for illicit purposes.
- Sometime in 2017, there was an inflow of the sum of US$752,544.42 from TBEA (Hong Kong) Co. Limited, Industrial Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited to the Fatoumatta Bah Barrow Foundation’s account held with the Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia Limited. The source and purpose of these funds remain unexplained. This is particularly having regard to the allegation that the funds were immediately transferred to another account. The Fatoumatta Bah Barrow Foundation being a foundation set up by the First Lady of The Gambia should be transparent particularly in the light of the revelations made at the Jammeh Commission that the former President and First Lady used Foundations established in their names to raise funds which were used for their personal expenses. It is important to investigate the source of these funds and further their purpose. It is also important to establish that these funds were used for the purposes for which the foundation was established.
- Sometime in August or September, 2017, the members of the National Assembly received a donation of 57 pick up vehicles. According to the Director of Press Amie Bojang Sissoho, the vehicles were donated by a Philanthropist supporter of His Excellency Adama Barrow, the President of the Republic of The Gambia. The source of the donation is to date unknown. It is an offence under the provisions of section 22 of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2012 for any public officer to obtain a gift or consideration as an inducement or reward. Section 223 (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia also provides that and personal gifts should be permitted under the code of conduct of public officials. Clause 12 of the Code of conduct provides that a public official shall only accept any gift or donation from relatives and friends. It is important that the members of the National Assembly to investigate the source of the gift to determine whether it falls within the exceptions provided for under the Code of Conduct. To do otherwise would be to bring the Assembly and its members to reproach and would make it liable to allegations of corruption.
- It has come to the attention of the members of this body that a business operated under the name Fouta Enterprises has become one of the largest importers of basic commodities in The Gambia. This business has been granted the right to use a bonded warehouse situate at the Kanifing Industrial Area. This warehouse is the subject of an investigation by the Janneh Commission. Further the warehouse had been sold by Assets Management and Recovery Corporation to a third party. It is important to establish the basis upon which Fouta Enterprises was granted the right to occupy and use the bonded warehouse. In the light of the pending food crisis in The Gambia, this Assembly must investigate all issues which could threaten the food security of our citizens.
- Taking into consideration the urgency of the matters raised above, we call on Her Excellency the Speaker to call an Extra-Ordinary Session of the National Assembly for the above motion to be debated.
Dated the day of October, 2018