Director disqualified after wrongly claiming £50k of taxpayer support during the pandemic

Director disqualified after wrongly claiming £50k of taxpayer support during the pandemic

A takeaway boss who abused Covid-19 support schemes, wrongly claiming £50,000 of taxpayer support, has been banned from being a company director for seven years.

Ifraz Nabi, 41, was disqualified as a director for seven years after claiming £30,000 through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and over £20,000 through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Mr Nabi was sole director of New York Krispy Fried Chicken, a chicken takeaway shop on Stockport Road, in Greater Manchester.

The company behind the takeaway, New York Krispy Fried Chicken Limited, went into liquidation in November 2020, triggering an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Investigators discovered that Mr Nabi failed in his obligations as director to maintain adequate accounts and financial records.

As a result, the claims he made through the government support schemes could not be supported, as there was insufficient information relating to sales and no explanation of how such sales could have been achieved while staff were on furlough.

Even had there been records permitting his claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which allowed companies to pay staff furloughed while businesses were closed, the shop was not eligible to claim funding through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme as it was only for restaurants with indoor seating.

Takeaway outlets with no seating were excluded, and although New York Krispy Fried Chicken had some seating, it received the majority of its orders through apps, which were also excluded under the scheme.

In addition, Mr Nabi had failed to register the company for tax and when the business subsequently went into liquidation due to the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, the liquidators were unable to assess how much the company owed in unpaid tax.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy accepted a disqualification undertaking from Mr Nabi, after he admitted failing to maintain, preserve or deliver up adequate accounting records, as well as failing to register and account for VAT as required.

His disqualification is effective from 31 May 2022 and lasts for seven years.

The disqualification undertaking prevents Mr Nabi from directly, or indirectly, becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.

Nina Cassar, deputy head of investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “One of the main purposes of the Company Director’s Disqualification Act is to ensure that company directors adhere to minimum standard.

“Ifraz Nabi failed not only to maintain the accounting records of his company, he failed to register and pay his business taxes, and furthermore abused Covid-19 support schemes designed to support businesses in genuine need.

“This disqualification should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will take action against those who abuse their position and do not take their obligations seriously.”

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