01:56PM, Tuesday 03 July 2018
A director of a company that repeatedly failed to pay his workers the minimum wage has been banned for seven years.
Shakil Ahmed, 61, from Slough, was the director of Euro Contracts Services, a company which provided manual labourers to a farm in Hertfordshire.
The farm paid a fee for the supply of workers before Euro Contracts Services paid the labourers while taking a percentage for administration costs.
In 2009, HMRC investigated the company and found that the farm labourers had not been paid the national minimum wage, losing out on almost £69,000.
Euro Contracts Services paid the correct remuneration to the farm labourers but then deducted the cost of transporting the workers to the farm. This meant their pay packets were below the national minimum wage.
Ahmed corrected this underpayment but two years later another investigation was launched.
This time HMRC found that between August 2010 and January 2011 Euro Contracts Services had paid 246 employees below the minimum wage to the tune of more than £110,000.
Ahmed launched an appeal against HMRC’s findings but this was dismissed in the courts. In December 2015 HMRC lodged a claim against Euro Contracts Services to recover the money owed.
The money remained unpaid and in September 2016, a month before a full hearing had been set, Euro Contracts Services entered Creditors Voluntary Liquidation meaning the money owed to employees was not paid.
The Secretary of State has since accepted a disqualification undertaking from Ahmed after he admitted that he had failed to ensure that Euro Contracts Services Limited complied with its obligation to pay the national minimum wage. His ban is effective until May 22 2018 for seven years.
Dave Elliott, Head of Insolvent Investigations (Midlands & West) for the Insolvency Service said:
“The fact that Shakil Ahmed was investigated on two separate occasions, shows that this was not the case of administrative error but a wilful act on his behalf.
“Shakil Ahmed fully deserves his ban after cheating his workers out of what was rightfully theirs and this should serve as a warning to other directors that they have a duty to comply with regulations or else be banned from running companies for a long time.”
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