Sean McManus (35) from Adavoyle Road, Killeavy, Co Down was disqualified for seven years on December 16, 2021, in Belfast High Court for his conduct as a director of McManus Agri Contracts Ltd – In liquidation (” the society ” ).
The Company operated as a wholesaler of agricultural machinery, equipment and supplies and went into liquidation on 19 February 2018 with an estimated deficit as to creditors of Â£ 827,875. There was a total of Â£ 1 due as share capital resulting in an estimated membership deficit of Â£ 827,876.
The cases of undignified conduct alleged by the Department against Sean McManus in relation to his conduct as a director of the Company and accepted by the Court were as follows:
- To provoke and allow the Company to apply a policy of discrimination against the Crown by withholding monies which were correctly payable to the Crown and / or by submitting inaccurate VAT returns resulting in a loss of money duly due to the Crown from 2015/16. Induce and permit the Company to retain a total of Â£ 386,521.88 due to the Crown on the date of liquidation. This represented 46% of the company’s revised overall estimated deficit with respect to PAYE / NIC and VAT duly payable to the State. Further, applying a policy of discrimination as payments were made to commercial creditors at a time when HMRC’s debt continued to increase;
- To provoke and allow McManus Agri Contracts Ltd to abuse its bank accounts by remitting checks and payments without due regard to the Company’s ability to honor them on presentation and, as a result, they obtained goods and services without the funds to pay them, thereby causing prejudice to commercial creditors;
- Induce and allow the Company not to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in that the annual declarations / confirmatory declarations for the period ended May 27, 2012, May 27, 2013, May 27, 2014, May 27 May 2015, May 25, 2016 and May 25, 2017 were not filed within the prescribed time limits
- Cause and allow the Company not to comply with the legislation in these annual accounts for the years ended May 31, 2013, May 31, 2014, May 31, 2015 and May 31, 2016 were not filed within the deadline prescribed
The department accepted 25 disqualification undertakings and the Court issued 6 disqualification orders during the fiscal year beginning on 1 April 2021.
Notes to Editors:
- Insolvency practitioners acting as voluntary liquidators, administrative trustees and administrators have a duty to report unsuitable conduct to the Insolvency Service of the Department of the Economy.
- The Department’s objective is to initiate disqualification proceedings against directors of bankrupt companies who have abused the privilege of limited liability status through negligence, incompetence or lack of commercial probity. The legislation contained in the Disqualification of Company Directors (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 (“the Order 2002”) is intended for the protection of the public and the business community, but its application should not interfere with a real business.
- In cases where a person is the subject of an exclusion order issued by the court or an exclusion undertaking accepted by the ministry, that person should not be a director of a company, act as sequestration of the property of a company or in any way whatsoever, whether directly or indirectly, deal with or participate in the promotion, constitution or management of a company except with the authorization of the Tribunal de Grande Instance. A disqualified person cannot be granted permission to act as an insolvency practitioner.
- Article 9 of the 2002 ordinance provides that when a director is declared unfit, he must be recused for a minimum period of two years and a maximum of fifteen years. The courts have ruled that the level of severity of unworthy behavior can be divided into three brackets, with the upper bracket of periods greater than ten years reserved for particularly serious cases, six to ten years reserved for cases not deserving of the upper bracket. and two to five years for cases where, although the exclusion is mandatory, the case is less serious.
- The 2002 ordinance also allows administrators, with the approval of the ministry, to avoid the need for a court hearing by offering an acceptable prohibition undertaking. This has exactly the same legal effect as a restraining order made by the court, and will usually include an appendix identifying the improper conduct of the director. The consequences of failing to comply with a Disqualification Commitment are the same as those for failing to comply with a Disqualification Order.
- If someone contravenes a disqualification order or their disqualification undertaking, they can commit a criminal offense and can go to jail for up to two years or face a fine or both. Anyone with information suggesting that a disqualified person has acted in violation of this provision should contact the Insolvency Service Administrators Disqualification Unit on 028 90 548582.
- The disqualification period begins at the end of 21 days from the day the disqualification commitment was accepted by the ministry.
- For media inquiries, contact the Economics Department press office at [email protected]
- The Executive Information Service operates an after-hours service for media inquiries only between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday to Friday and weekends and holidays. The permanent press attachÃ© can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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