Press release

Director banned for causing company to employ illegal workers

Mohammed Nadeem Shafi, the director of Gazal Sweets & Restaurant Limited (Gazal), which traded as Maida, a restaurant and catering business in Blackburn, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for 6 years in connection with the employment of illegal workers.

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Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Mr Shafi gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills in which he did not dispute that he caused Gazal to employ three illegal workers in contravention of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, as a result of which Gazal was served a penalty of £15,000 by Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE).

Mr Shafi’s disqualification from 5 August 2015 means that he cannot promote, manage or be a director of a limited company until 2021.

HOIE officers visited Gazal’s trading premises on 15 December 2013 and Gazal was found to be employing five illegal workers. On 4 April 2014 HOIE issued Gazal with a Notification of Liability for a Civil Penalty of £15,000 in respect of the company’s employment of three of those illegal workers. Gazal did not pay the Civil Penalty and Mr Shafi took steps to place Gazal into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation, which took place on 15 May 2014.

The investigation found that 5 illegal workers were employed, all were paid in cash, the director made no checks as to their immigration status and none of the 5 appear on the declared PAYE records.

Robert Clarke, Head of Insolvent Investigations North at the Insolvency Service, said:

The Insolvency Service rigorously pursues directors who fail to pay fines imposed by the government for breaking employment and immigration laws. We have worked closely in this case with our colleagues at the Home Office to achieve this disqualification.

The director sought an unfair advantage over his competitors by employing individuals who did not have the right to work in the UK, in breach of his duties as a director.

The public has a right to expect that those who break the law will face the consequences. Running a limited company means you have statutory protections as well as obligations. If you fail to comply with your obligations then the Insolvency Service will investigate you.

Notes to editors

Gazal Sweets & Restaurant Limited (CRO No. 07868619) was incorporated in 2011. The company’s registered office and trading address was 16 Eanam, Blackburn BB1 5BY.

Gazal Sweets & Restaurant Limited entered liquidation on 15 May 2014 with assets of £5,000 and liabilities of £72,854.

Mr Shafi is from London and his date of birth is 20 April 1970.

The disqualification undertaking was accepted by the Secretary of State on 15 July 2015 and will come into force on 5 August 2015. A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations. Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions is available.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

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Published 24 July 2015