The Department for the Economy (the Department) has accepted a disqualification undertaking from the director of a tiling contractor business.
The undertaking was received for six years from Paul John Devlin (41) of Windyridge, Banbridge, Co Down, in respect of his conduct as director of Paul Devlin Tiling Limited (“the Company”).
The Company acted as a tiling contractor. The registered office was 15 Old Manse Green, Banbridge, Co Down, and went into Liquidation on 10 November 2016 with an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £440,455.00.
The Department accepted the disqualification undertaking from Paul John Devlin on 22 February 2021 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:
- Causing and permitting Paul Devlin Tiling Limited to operate a policy of discrimination against the Crown, in that from 2014/15 to the date of liquidation the Company retained monies totalling £416,093.09 in respect of PAYE / NIC and VAT which was properly payable to the Crown;
- Failing to fully co-operate with the Official Receiver’s Office and the liquidator, Ken Pattullo of Begbies Traynor, by not providing a response to the questions in relation to the nature of the proceeds received of £21,174.36 and how they were dispersed.
- Failing to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in that annual accounts for year ended 31 July 2015 were never filed;
- Caused and permitted the Company to fail to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in that the Annual Return for the period ended 17 July 2015 and the confirmation statement for the period ended 17 July 2016 were not filed within prescribed periods.
The Department has accepted eighteen Disqualification Undertakings in the financial year commencing 1 April 2020.
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 90 548582.
- The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.
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