County Armagh director disqualified

Date published: 27 May 2022

Neil Donnelly (47) of Lisraw Road, Scarva, Craigavon was disqualified for nine years on 5 May 2022, in the High Court, Belfast in respect of his conduct as a director of Donnelly Transport Limited- In liquidation (“the Company”).

Director disqualified
Director disqualified

The Company operated as freight transport by road and went into Administration on 21 September 2018 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £922,649. The company subsequently went into Liquidation on 16 December 2020. There was a total of £100 owing as Share Capital, resulting in an estimated deficiency as regards members of £922,749. 

The matters of unfit conduct alleged by the Department in relation to Neil Donnelly in respect of his conduct as a director of the Company and accepted by the Court were:

  • Causing and permitting the misuse of the invoice discounting facility by raising “fresh air” invoices in order to draw money from Close Invoice Finance Limited when there was no underlying transactions or value attached to them, thereby causing a loss to Close Invoice Finance Limited of £193,159.30;
  • Failing to co-operate with the administrator/liquidator by not providing a completed director’s questionnaire or submitted a statement of affairs for the company in contravention to Article 199 of the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order 1989. As a result, the administrator/liquidator was not provided with sufficient background into the Company affairs and the assets and liabilities as at the date of winding up, resulting in a frustration of the administration and liquidation processes.   

The Court has made one Disqualification Order in the financial year commencing 1 April 2022

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 the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk .
  9. To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:
  1. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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