Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

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County Londonderry directors disqualified

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (the Department) has accepted disqualification undertakings for 11 and nine years from the County Londonderry based directors of agricultural machinery businesses.

Graham Robinson (52) of Barr Cregg, Claudy, Co. Londonderry and Jennifer Robinson (53) of Feeny Road, Dungiven, Co. Londonderry were disqualified for 11 years and nine years respectively on 20 June 2013, in the High Court, Belfast in respect of their conduct as directors of Agrispares (NI) Limited and Agri Machinery (NI) Limited.

Agrispares (NI) Limited carried on the business of buying and selling agricultural parts from Feeny Road, Dungiven, Co. Londonderry. It went into liquidation on 16 December 2010 with no assets, liabilities of £77,052 to unsecured creditors, and an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £77,052. After taking into account the losses incurred by members (the shareholders) of Agrispares (NI) Limited the total estimated deficiency was £77,054.

The matters of unfit conduct alleged by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (the Department) in relation to the directors in respect of their conduct as directors of Agrispares (NI) Limited and accepted by the Court were:

· causing and permitting Agrispares (NI) Limited to fail to pay over a total of £31,413 properly due to the Crown consisting of £1,915 in respect of PAYE and £2,575 in respect of NIC for the year 2007/08; £3,723 in respect of VAT for the years 2009/10 and 2010/11; and £23,200 in respect of Corporation Tax for the years 2003/04 to 2005/06;

· causing and permitting Agrispares (NI) Limited to fail to comply with its obligations under both the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 and the Companies Act 2006 in that the Annual Returns in respect of the periods made up to 26 March 2000, 26 March 2001, 26 March 2002, 26 March 2003, 26 March 2004, 26 March 2005, 26 March 2006 and 26 March 2007 were filed late and the Annual Returns in respect of the periods made up to 26 March 2008, 26 March 2009 and 26 March 2010 have not been filed at all;

· failing to comply with their obligations under the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 in that the accounts for Agrispares (NI) Limited in respect of the years ended 31 March 2000, 31 March 2001, 31 March 2003, 31 March 2004, 31 March 2005, 31 March 2006, 31 March 2007, 31 March 2008 and 31 March 2009 were not filed on time.

The additional matters of unfit conduct alleged by the Department in relation to Graham Robinson in respect of his conduct as a director of Agrispares (NI) Limited and accepted by the Court were:

· failing to submit a Statement of Affairs;

· acting as a de facto director whilst an undischarged bankrupt and continuing to act as a de facto director until cessation of trade.

The additional matter of unfit conduct alleged by the Department in relation to Jennifer Robinson in respect of her conduct as a director of Agrispares (NI) Limited and accepted by the Court was:

· acquiescing in/permitting Graham Robinson to act as a de facto director whilst an undischarged bankrupt and continuing to permit him to act as a de facto director until cessation of trade.

Agri Machinery (NI) Limited carried on the business of buying and selling machinery from Feeny Road, Dungiven, Co. Londonderry and went into liquidation on 11 January 2012 with no assets, liabilities of £209,624 to non-preferential creditors, and an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £209,624. After taking into account the losses incurred by members (the shareholders) of Agri Machinery (NI) Limited the total estimated deficiency was £209,824.

The matters of unfit conduct alleged by the Department in relation to the directors in respect of their conduct as directors of Agri Machinery (NI) Limited and accepted by the Court were:

· causing and permitting Agri Machinery (NI) Limited to fail to pay over a total of £47,604 properly due to the Crown consisting of £1,407 in respect of PAYE and £1,156 in respect of NIC for the years 2007/08 and 2008/09; and £45,041 in respect of VAT for the years 2008/09 to 2010/11;

· causing and permitting Agri Machinery (NI) Limited to fail to comply with its obligations under both the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 and the Companies Act 2006 in that the Annual Return in respect of the periods made up to 6 June 2008 and 6 June 2009 were filed late and the Annual Return for the period made up to 6 June 2010 has not been filed at all;

· failing to comply with their obligations under both the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 and the Companies Act 2006 in that the accounts for Agri Machinery (NI) Limited in respect of the years ended 30 June 2007 and 30 June 2008 were filed late and the accounts in respect of the year ended 30 June 2009 have not been filed at all.

The additional matter of unfit conduct alleged by the Department in relation to Graham Robinson in respect of his conduct as a director of Agri Machinery (NI) Limited and accepted by the Court was:

· failing to fully co-operate with the Official Receiver as Office Holder.


The Department has accepted 46 Disqualification Undertakings and the Court has made 5 orders disqualifying directors in the financial year commencing 1 April 2013.


Notes to editors:

1. The directors are married.

2. The Official Receiver, when a company is wound up by the Court, has a duty to investigate the causes of failure and report any unfit conduct to the Insolvency Service within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 548508.

8. The period of disqualification commences at the end of the 21 days beginning with the day the Order was made by the Court.