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County Antrim Directors Agree to Disqualification

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (the Department) has accepted a disqualification undertaking for nine years from Hugh David Albert Cameron (50) of Castleview Park, Portrush, County Antrim, in respect of his conduct as a director of The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited.

The Department has also accepted a disqualification undertaking for nine years from Joseph Ivor Reilly (65) of Ballybogey Road, Ballymoney, County Antrim, in respect of his conduct as a director of the same company.

The Department has also accepted a disqualification undertaking for nine years from Maurice Laverty (61) of Whitepark Road, Ballycastle, County Antrim in respect of his conduct as a director of the same company.

The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited (the Company) carried on the business of trading as a football and sports club from The Showgrounds, Ballycastle Road, Coleraine and went into administration on 5 September 2005. A Statement of Affairs as at 22 June 2005, prepared for the purposes of a proposal for a Company Voluntary Arrangement in the matter of The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited, disclosed that the Company had no assets, liabilities of £17,000 to preferential creditors, liabilities of £1,017,914 to non preferential creditors and an estimated deficiency as regards creditors of £1,034,914. The Company went into liquidation on 9 August 2006.

The Department accepted the disqualification undertakings from Maurice Laverty on 12 June 2009 and Joseph Ivor Reilly and Hugh David Albert Cameron on 24 June 2009, based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • Failing to submit a Statement of The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited’s Affairs as at 5 September 2005 in the prescribed form;
  • Failing to account to the Inland Revenue for income tax and national insurance contributions which were payable on employees earnings;
  • Causing and permitting The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited to be financed by the retention of £436,790.46 of debts properly payable to the Crown being £381,795.80 due in respect of PAYE and NIC for the tax periods 1998/99 to 2005/06 and VAT in the sum of £54,994.66 incurred from quarter ending October 2000 until July 2005;
  • Failing to account satisfactorily to the Sports Council for £151,294 of the Sports Council Northern Ireland awards;
  • Causing and permitting The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited to fail to maintain and/or preserve proper accounting records;
  • Failing to ensure that statutory records for The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited were preserved or, if they were preserved, failing to deliver them up, contrary to the provisions of the Companies (NI) Order 1986.

The following is an additional matter of unfit conduct, alleged by the Department in relation to Hugh David Albert Cameron and Joseph Ivor Reilly which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed:

  • Failing to ensure that annual accounts for The Coleraine Football and Sports Club, Limited were prepared and filed for the years ended 30 April 2003 and 30 April 2004.

The Department has accepted 11 Disqualification Undertakings and the Court has not yet made any Disqualification Orders in the financial year commencing 1 April 2009.

Notes to Editors:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 548516.

7. The period of disqualification commences at the end of 21 days beginning with the day the Disqualification Undertaking was accepted by the Department.

8. For media enquiries please contact the DETI Press Office on 028 9052 9297. Out of office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.