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Lawmakers summon interior minister over Semlex contract


Mustapha Darboe

A National Assembly committee investigating the controversial Belgian company contracted to issue national identification cards has summoned interior minister Ebrima Mballow and immigration director Buba Sagnia.

The two top officials are expected to appear before the lawmaking body’s Committee on National Security that has been investigating the circumstances leading to the awarding of the contract to Semlex on Tuesday.

“We are looking into the integrity of the contract…, the allegations of corruption against the company, and also if our data is actually safe with them,” Saikouba Jarju, a member of the committee, told Kerr Fatou.

The officials were supposed to appear before the Committee on Monday which was rescheduled to Tuesday because of the tight schedule of the minister.

Semlex has been embroidered into several corruption allegations and a number of Gambians have expressed fear that country’s data may not be safe with them.

The NSC’s investigation was sanctioned by the plenary after it was suggested by the member for Serrekunda West, Madi Ceesay, in July this year.

The Committee is expected to report to the whole house following their investigations with recommendations.

Semlex has already won Gambia’s ID card contract and it is to start issuing in October but Jarju said that will not in any way affect their investigation.

The NSC has already gathered information with which they will confront the minister and the immigration boss, said Jarju.

Sources said the lawmakers will also seek justification for the increase in ID card fee from D225 to D450.

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