Semlex, a Belgian-own company battling corruption allegations in many African countries, has won the bid to make Gambia’s identification cards and passports.
Semlex made the bidding with the Gambian-own Prestine company whose contract with Gambia government reportedly expired in 2004.
Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubakar Tambadou told journalists on Wednesday that Semlex has had an existing contract with the government which cannot be terminated without legal consequences.
Tambadou said the decision to award the identification cards contract to Semlex was decided by the cabinet after adequate scrutiny and care.
“After the whole year of consideration of this matter, culminating with the establishment of the ministerial task force, we showed the seriousness with which this government has taken up this issue,” he said.
“The government has decided to recognize and restore subsisting June contract with Semlex which was purportedly terminated by the previous government shortly after the contract was executed by the Ministry of Interior in 2016.”
The Gambian owned company has however disputed the claims that its contract with the government has expired.
Tambadou said the three-man ministerial task force led by Finance Minister, Amadou Sanneh supported by himself and Information Minister engaged in consultation before finally settling for Semlex.
He said after consultation with their respective staff, both Pristine and Semlex were contacted to submit their bids.
He explained that Semlex submitted their bid and Pristine did not, maintaining their position that they still have a valid contract with the government.
He said they could have proceeded with the bidding process and potentially awards the contract to Pristine and faces the international arbitration proceedings with all the legal and financial costs.