The Government of the Gambia has cancelled the scheduled March 22 signing of a major contract with the Belgian passport manufacturer, the Semlex Group, after multiple allegations of fraud and corruption have surfaced, in Africa and elsewhere. Semlex is the company that contracted with the Commonwealth of Dominica to make its voter identification cards, and that contract has not been cancelled, although most African nations that ordered passports from Semlex have abruptly cancelled their contracts. It is rumored that Semlex obtained its Dominica contract through bribery.
Semlex, whose Brussels office was raided by police earlier this year, was the subject of an article here detailing the illegal issuance of diplomatic passports to dodgy recipients, in the Comoros Islands; those documents were made by Semlex, which is owned by a Syrian national, Albert Karaziwan, who was the subject of a previous passport scandal in Europe, more than a decade ago.
ALBERT KARAZIWAN OF SYRIA
Semlex has allegedly paid bribes and kickbacks, to obtain business, to place in office individuals, who granted them extremely favorable contracts, and very high prices per passport. One bribe was reportedly $700,000, another $1.5m. Albert Karaziwan* is allegedly under criminal investigation for money laundering & corruption, according to media reports.
* Footnote: Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst started investigating Albert Karaziwan in 2000 and worked in a covert operation to close down the Diplomat Passport operation under the name of "Societe Code Diplomatique", which he closed down successfully the complete operation from Zurich, Switzerland. Monte Friesner was appointed Financial Consultant to the European Union by Laszlo Banhegyi to conduct Enhanced Due Diligence Intel on companies and individuals wanting to do business in Europe until 2012.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant