Four restaurant bosses who broke UK immigration laws by employing 15 illegal workers in London, South Wales, Lancashire and Liverpool have been disqualified as directors for a combined 24 years following collaboration between the Insolvency Service and Home Office Immigration Enforcement.
Manchester-based director Cho Nam Kwan, 35, employed seven illegal immigrants at his Tai Pan Restaurant in Liverpool, while Oxford resident Eric Chung Man Ho, 35, employed two workers illegally at his Chinese restaurant the Oriental Gardens II, in Cwmbran, Wales.
Mohi Uddin, 31, of London employed three illegal workers at Massala Caterings Ltd in Romford. Zafar Mahmood, 39, also employed three illegal workers at his takeaway American Chicken Hut in Preston, Lancs.
The four directors are banned from managing or controlling a company for six years each until 2020. Mr Kwan’s disqualification started on 7 July 2014, Mr Ho’s on 15 July 2014, Mr Uddin’s on 18 July 2014, and Mr Mahmood’s on 25 July 2014.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said:
People who employ illegal workers are not only breaking the law, they are also damaging their local economy. From stopping people from getting honest jobs to undermining businesses in their communities, the costs are huge.
These four disqualifications give a strong warning that the Government is determined to stamp out these illegal practices and will take tough action against anyone flouting the law.
All four restaurants were visited by Home Office Immigration Enforcement in 2012 when the illegal workers were discovered.
Commenting on the disqualification, Richard Mulligan, Deputy Head of Company Investigations 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 four directors sought an unfair advantage over their competitors by employing individuals who did not have the right to work in the UK in breach of their duties as directors.
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.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
Illegal working is not victimless. It undercuts honest employers, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities and defrauds the taxpayer.
Businesses should be aware that they have a duty to check that their staff have permission to work in the UK.
We are happy to work with employers who play by the rules but those who do not should know that they will not go under our radar.
Notes to editors
Oriental Gardens II Cwmbran Limited (Company No 07804269) was incorporated on 10 October 2011. Eric Chung Man Ho was the sole director of the company. The restaurant was based at Station Road, Pontnewydd, Cwmbran N44 1NZ. Oriental Gardens II was placed into liquidation on 3 September 2012, with £2,000 in assets of and debts of £ £22,346.
Massala Caterings Ltd (Company No 07807175) was incorporated on 12 October 2011. Mohi Uddin was the sole director of the company. The takeaway restaurant was at 171 High Street, Romford, Essex, RM6 6NL. Massala Caterings Ltd went into liquidation on 5 April 2013 with no assets and debts of £22,800,
USA Chicken Hut Ltd (Company No 07638561) was incorporated on 18 May 2011. Mr Zafar Mahmood was the sole director of the company. It operated a takeaway at 131 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston, PR5 6QP trading as American Chicken Hut. The company changed its name to USA Chicken Hut Ltd in September 2012.
Jasco Limited (Company No 07707801), trading as Tai Pan Restaurant, was incorporated on 18 July 2011 and entered Creditors Voluntary Liquidation on 25 June 2012 with assets of £5,001 and liabilities of £64,040. Mr Cho Nam Kwan (DOB: 24 November 1978) of Manchester, was a registered director from incorporation until the date of the Liquidation.
Company directors may be disqualified under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 if their conduct falls below accepted standards. A disqualification order can be made by a court in proceedings brought under the Act. The members of limited liability partnerships (“LLPs”) are also covered by the Act, in the same way as company directors.
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
- act as an insolvency practitioner
- be a receiver of a company’s property
In addition 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.