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More legal practitioners at Tax Commission

Dec 19, 2011, 12:16 PM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

Six more legal practitioners on Friday came before the Tax Commission sitting at the High Court Complex in Banjul.

Established in November 2011 by President Yahya Jammeh, the commission of inquiry looks into tax evasion and other corrupt practices of accountants, legal practitioners, companies, and private persons, medical practitioners and institutions required to pay tax to the Gambia Revenue Authority.

The commission was also mandated, among other things, to ascertain the extent of loss of public revenue resulting from non-payment of capital gains tax, personal income tax and sales tax; and to determine the role of individuals, groups and professional bodies in the evasion and avoidance of tax.

It will also enquire into professional malpractice by members of the public as it relates to obtaining goods through widespread issuance of false and dud cheques and other malpractices by members of professional bodies as these have affected foreign direct investment in The Gambia.

Sheikh Tijan Hydara

Seikh Tijan Hydara told the commission that he is a lawyer by profession, and was called to the bar between 1997 and 1998, adding that he was paying his tax obligations.

He noted that he is not eligible to pay income tax because he is working for the African Union, further stating that they were exempted from paying tax based on the home agreement between the AU and the Gambia government.

He said he has evidence to show that this was the case.

Emmanuel E. Cheme

Emmanuel E. Cheme informed the commission that he is a lawyer by profession, and was called to the bar in The Gambia in 1996, pointing out that he worked for Edward Antony Gomez from 1996 to 1999.

He explained to the commission that Edward Gomez promised to give him something at the end of every month.

Cheme further informed the commission that Mr Gomez used to pay his rent fees, adding that in 2001, he joined the Fanafana Chambers, and Mr Mbai promised to pay him at the end of every month.

He told the commission that he was not working between 2003 to 2007, but presently he got an office which four of them are using, and they all contribute to the rent.

He said that he has been struggling to pay his tax, and was not paying his income tax as and when due.

Cheme’s tax payment receipts were admitted and marked.   

Almamy Fanding Taal

Almamy Fanding Taal told the commission that he was called to the bar in 1998, adding that he worked as a state prosecutor and state counsel, and he resigned from the public service in 2005.

He further told the commission that he was appointed a high court judge in September 2009 and was removed in 2010, stating that he was later appointed as the CEO of Real Time Consulting.

He added that he has to get back to the Real Time Consulting to get evidence of tax payments, and promised the commission that by Monday he would produce this evidence.

Edrissa Mansajang Sissoho

Edrissa Mansajang Sissoho is a private legal practitioner, and was called to the bar in 1998, prior to which he was a public prosecutor and a state counsel.

 He said he left the public service in 2004 and opened his own chambers in 2005, further stating that, from 2005 to 2008, he was not in the jurisdiction, and had informed the GRA about it.

 He added that he has settled all the 2010 taxes, but for 2011, this was not fully settled. His receipts of tax payments were admitted and marked.

Neneh Cham

Neneh Cham a private lawyer was called to the bar in both Sierra Leone and The Gambia in 2000. She said she started paying her taxes since 2006.

She told the commission that during her time at lawyer Darboe’s chambers, she was not on the payroll.

She told the commission that she has evidence to show that she was paying her taxes regularly, and that she paid every year.

Her payment receipts were admitted and marked.

Marie Saine-Firdaus

Marie Saine-Firdaus was called to the bar in 2000. She worked at the Attorney General’s Chambers as a state counsel, senior state counsel, principal state counsel, and as acting Director of Public Prosecutions.

In September 2007, she was appointed as the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice, until March 2010.

In September 2010, she started working as a private legal practitioner, and has paid her taxes for 2010 and 2011.

Receipt of income tax and sales tax payment were admitted and marked by the commission.