The Justice Department has established and the owner of the Daily Observer Company, Gambia’s oldest daily newspaper and it is neither Baba Jobe nor Amadou Samba.
For long, many queried the owner of the paper thought to have been owned by business tycoon Amadou Samba or the political influencer Baba K. Jobe.
It appears that after Kenneth Best, the Liberian proprietor of the Daily Observer was expelled from the country, the paper was through Mr. Samba passed on to former President Yahya Jammeh.
Samba and Jobe handled most of Jammeh’s businesses for all of his rule of The Gambia. Jammeh has called Samba his ‘personal manager.’
The Gambia Press Union has asked for the Justice Department to establish the owner of the paper after it distanced itself from talks to prevent its shutdown over accusations of tax evasion.
It is believed that the paper went from being registered under Samba to Jobe. It has remained under Jobe’s name and Jammeh quietly transferred the paper to his name after Jobe landed on a UN sanctions list.
Whiles the changes in the company were not made with the Registrar of Companies at the Justice Department, an affidavit from 1999 showed Mr. Samba as the owner and publisher of the paper.
Samba transferred ownership to Jobe in 2002 and documents show that Mr. Jobe was the last to own a majority share of the company.
The Daily Observer is apparently one of Jobe’s assets that Jammeh annexed after his jailing and circumstantial death just days before his release.
The Jobe family has reportedly hired a lawyer to lay claims on Mr. Jobe’s properties worth millions of dollars, including a mega mansion where Jammeh’s mother was staying.