Security company director given 9 year ban for exploiting workers
Kenneth Nnaemeka Ikerunanwa, the sole director of both Widescope Security Services Limited (Widescope), and Atlas Manned Guarding Security Limited (Atlas) has been disqualified for 9 years after an insolvency Service investigation found he paid employees at below the national minimum wage and submitted a series of under-declared VAT returns to HM Revenue & Customs.
The disqualification follows collaboration between the Insolvency Service and HM Revenue and Customs and Mr Ikerunanwa by his actions, was engaging in practices contrary to the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Value Added Tax Act 1994.
On 22 June 2015, the Secretary of State accepted a Disqualification Undertaking from Mr Ikerunanwa (44), which bans him from managing or controlling a company from 13 July 2015, for a period of 9 years.
The matters of unfitness, which Mr Ikerunanwa did not dispute in the Disqualification Undertaking, were that:
Between September 2003 and November 2010, I caused Widescope Security Services Limited (Widescope) and Atlas Manned Guarding Security Limited (Atlas) to trade in contravention of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 and the Value Added Tax Act 1994, in that I refused or wilfully neglected to pay at least 15 employees the national minimum wage, between December 2007 and March 2009 and created and submitted a series of Value Added Tax returns which were under-declared in the period 1 May 2004 to 31 July 2010 resulting in an officers assessment of £113,522; of this £109,700 remains outstanding at liquidation.
HM Revenue & Customs commenced an investigation in April 2009. On 26 February 2013 at Wood Green Crown Court Mr Ikerunanwa, (having pleaded guilty), was convicted of refusing or wilfully neglecting to remunerate workers at a rate which was at least equal to the national minimum wage, and taking steps with a view to the fraudulent evasion of tax rising out of the business of Widescope and Atlas.
Sue MacLeod, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:
The Insolvency Service treats this kind of misconduct extremely seriously, the minimum wage needs to be enforced and these cases show that by working together government agencies are cracking down on rogue companies and banning their directors for considerable periods of time.
Notes to editors
Mr Ikerunanwa’s date of birth is 17 November 1970 and he resides in London.
Widescope Security Services Limited (CRO No. 04849502) was incorporated on 29 July 2003 and traded from Unit W35 Grove Business Centre, 560-568 High Road, London, N17 9TA providing private security services. The Company went into liquidation on 16 December 2013 with an estimated deficiency of £175,772.
Atlas Manned Guarding Security Limited (CRO No. 06583271) was incorporated on 2 May 2008 and also traded from Unit W35 Grove Business Centre, 560-568 High Road, London, N17 9TA providing private security services. The Company went into liquidation on 16 December 2013 with an estimated deficiency of £4,010.
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
From: The Insolvency Service