Press release

Director of Barnstaple restaurant banned for employing illegal worker

Ashraf Ali Shah who ran The Ganges Restaurant has been disqualified for five years after an investigation found he was employing an illegal worker.


Mr Shah was the sole director of Follycat Limited, which traded under the name The Ganges Restaurant.

The disqualification, from 28 March 2017 prevents Mr Shah from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company until March 2022.

Mr Shah’s disqualification follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service which found he had failed to ensure relevant immigration checks were completed and documents retained, resulting in the employment of an illegal worker and which resulted in a penalty notice of £10,000 being issued by the Home Office.

Aldona O’Hara, Chief Investigator 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 an individual 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 obligations as well as protections. If you fail to comply with your obligations then the Insolvency Service will investigate you.

Notes to editors

Follycat Limited (Company Registration No. 07352122) was incorporated on 20 August 2010 and traded from 87 Newport Street, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 93E.

Mr Ashraf Ali Shah (date of birth December 1960) was the sole registered director from 20 August 2010, the date of incorporation, until liquidation.

The company went into liquidation on 18 July 2016. On 28 February 2017, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepted a Disqualification Undertaking from Mr Shah, effective from 28 March 2017, for a period of five years.

The matters of unfit conduct being that: Ashraf Ali Shah failed to ensure that Follycat Limited complied with its obligations in accordance with The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and employed an illegal worker. This led to a penalty of £10,000 in that:

  • on 28 November 2015 Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE) officers visited the company’s trading premises and the company was found to be employing one illegal worker
  • on 29 January 2016, HOIE issued a Notification of Liability for a Civil Penalty to Follycat in respect of a suspected breach of section 15 of the Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, in the sum of £10,000 for the company’s employment of an illegal worker, payment of which was due on or before 1 March 2016
  • as the sole registered director of Follycat, Mr Ashraf Ali Shah was responsible for ensuring that the company complied with all relevant legislation, including legislation relating to the employment of persons eligible to work
  • no payments were made against the civil penalty and this sum remained outstanding at liquidation

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

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.

The Insolvency Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures.

BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies.

The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, 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 10 April 2017