Co Antrim director agrees to disqualification

Date published: 29 September 2020

The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted a disqualification undertaking from the Director of an Educational Support Services business.

Insolvency Service
Insolvency Service

The undertaking was received for seven years from Patrick McGrath (46) of 95 Mount Pleasant Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, BT37 0NQ, in respect of his conduct as a director of Iteach-UK Ltd (“the Company”).

The Company traded in the supply of specialist educational support services for various educational establishments from Suite 2, 5a Hawthorn Office Park, Stockmans Way, Belfast, Co Antrim, and went into liquidation on 21 September 2017 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £579,320.69. 

The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Patrick McGrath on 8 September 2020 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • continuing to act as a director of the company from his resignation as a director on the 02 June 2017 to the date of liquidation 21 September 2017. He therefore acted as a director whilst being disqualified by virtue of being an undischarged bankrupt for the period 24 April 2017 to 21 September 2017
  • causing and permitting Iteach-UK Ltd to retain Crown monies in the sum of £258,983.56 from 2016/17 to the date of liquidation and to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown
  • failing to maintain and/or preserve and/or deliver up adequate accounting records which were sufficient to show and explain the Company’s transactions and were such as to disclose with reasonable accuracy, at any time, the financial position of the company contrary to Article 386 of the Companies Act 2006
  • failing to comply with the legislation in that annual accounts for the year ended 31 July 2016 were not filed within the prescribed period. It was also unclear whether the dormant accounts filed for the year ended 31 July 2016 were in fact true.

The Department has accepted three Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1 April 2020.

Notes to editors: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 90 548582.
  7. The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.
  8. For media enquiries contact DFE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.

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