Munford Haulage stripped of O-licence for not being open with traffic commissioner

A York-based operator that was not open with the traffic commissioner (TC) about the administration of a former company and the disqualification of its director will have its O-licence taken away later this week.

Munford Haulage had not declared the administration of Geoffrey F Munford, a business that was sold in a pre-pack deal to Munford Haulage in 2013. Geoffrey F Munford entered administration in February 2013 owing HMRC £1.85m.

In January 2015 Geoffrey Munford, who was director of Munford Haulage at the time, was disqualified from acting as a director until 2026 by the Insolvency Service for allowing his former business to submit false VAT, PAYE and national insurance contributions to HMRC.

Munford Haulage did not inform the TC of the disqualification.

In his written decision following a public inquiry in Leeds on 15 December 2015, North East TC Kevin Rooney said the operator had assured him that the old business was in good financial health when it applied for an O-licence 16 months before Geoffrey F Munford went into administration.

“Had the traffic commissioner been aware of the true situation – that there was an ongoing HMRC investigation and the business was facing an unaffordable tax bill – I am in no doubt that, at the very least, the application would have been called to a public inquiry,” said the TC.

The relationship between Munford Haulage and Munford & Sons, a company that employs the drivers used by Munford Haulage, also caused concern as there was no formal contract for the hire of drivers in place.

TC Rooney said the management of drivers’ hours and tachograph records by its transport manager, Kevin Munford, had been “unacceptable”, but it was isolated to a very small part of the operation that covered hay transport.

“The transport manager was at its heart and it is appropriate that he bear the responsibility,” said Rooney.

Kevin Munford was disqualified from acting as a transport manager on any O-licence until 15 December 2016.

The operator was granted a period of grace to operate without a transport manager until 13 February, when its O-licence will be revoked.

In the positive, the TC said that there were no issues with the roadworthiness of its fleet, and that a robust drivers’ hours system was in place. He had also seen evidence of payments being made to HMRC.