Paul Stephen O’Kane (49) of Clifton Gate, Bangor and Amanda O’Kane (42) of Dunkeld Chase, Bangor, have been disqualified as a result of their conduct as directors of D&L Platinum (NI) Limited.
The company operated licensed restaurants from both Donaghadee Road, Groomsport and Main Street, Groomsport and went into liquidation on 21 March 2016 owing creditors over £408,000.
The Department for the Economy accepted disqualification undertakings of 10 years from Paul Stephen O’Kane and 6 years from Amanda O’Kane on 30th May 2019.
The disqualifications were due to the directors failing to account for cash amounts of at least £651,890 in the books and records of the company and for diverting cash from the company to their personal bank account. Their actions contributed to the insolvency of the company.
During the period of trading the directors also understated sales revenue which resulted in a loss to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in respect of taxes due of £322,613.47.
The Department also deemed that the directors had failed to keep accurate accounting records in breach of the Companies Act 2006.
Their disqualification means that both will be banned from acting as company directors and from being involved either directly or indirectly in the promotion, formation or management of a limited company.
The Department has accepted four Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1 April 2019.
Notes to editors:
- Insolvency Practitioners acting as voluntary liquidators, administrative receivers and administrators have a duty to report unfit conduct to the Insolvency Service within the Department for the Economy.
- The aim of the Department is to bring disqualification proceedings against those directors of failed companies who have abused the privilege of limited liability status through negligence, incompetence or lack of commercial probity. The legislation contained in the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (“the 2002 Order”) is for the protection of the public and trading community but its operation should not inhibit genuine enterprise.
- In cases where a person is subject to either a Disqualification Order made by the Court or a Disqualification Undertaking accepted by the Department, that person shall not be a director of a company, act as a receiver of a company's property or in any way, whether directly or indirectly, be concerned or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company unless he has the leave of the High Court. A disqualified person cannot obtain permission to act as an Insolvency Practitioner.
- Article 9 of the 2002 Order provides that where a director is found to be unfit he must be disqualified for a minimum period of two years, up to a maximum of fifteen years. The Courts have decided that the level of seriousness of unfit conduct can fall into three brackets with the top bracket of periods over ten years reserved for particularly serious cases, six to ten years reserved for cases which do not merit the top bracket and two to five years for cases where, although disqualification is mandatory, the case is less serious.
- The 2002 Order also allows directors, with the agreement of the Department, to avoid the need for a court hearing by offering an acceptable Disqualification Undertaking. This has exactly the same legal effect as a Disqualification Order made by the court, and will usually include a schedule identifying the director’s unfit conduct. The consequences of breaching a Disqualification Undertaking are the same as those for breaching a Disqualification Order.
- If anybody contravenes a Disqualification Order or breaches their Disqualification Undertaking they may be committing a criminal offence and could go to prison for up to two years or face a fine or both. Any person with information to suggest that a disqualified person has acted in contravention of this provision should contact The Insolvency Service’s Directors Disqualification Unit on 028 9054 8582.
- The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.
- For media enquiries contact DfE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 029 9037 8110.