A bankrupt haulier has been disqualified for 18 months after he encouraged his former stepdaughter to apply for an O-licence as a front for him.
Sean Mullins, who traded as Sean Mullins Transport, attempted to avoid the effect the revocation of his O-licence would have on his business by persuading Kerry Mullins to make an application as a sole trader and replace him as a director of a limited company.
A public inquiry in August, which Sean Mullins did not attend, was told that he was declared bankrupt in January but failed to tell West Midlands traffic commissioner TC Nick Jones.
Kerry Mullins told the hearing that she agreed to apply for an O-licence, which was to trade under the name of Mullins Transport, despite not having any experience of operating goods vehicles; having not been involved in an O-licence before; and having undergone no training about operators’ responsibilities.
She also told the TC that her former stepfather had asked her to be the director of a separate limited business, Sean Mullins Transport, which did not have an O-licence. She was not sure whether the company had been operating any vehicles.
On asked why she agreed to become a director of a company in her stepfather’s name, Kerry Mullins told the TC that she wanted to help Sean Mullins keep his O-licence.
She also told the TC that she had not bought evidence of financial standing for the Mullins Transport application to the hearing as she had spent the money that had been set aside.
Jones said in his written decision: “Her lack of knowledge about even basic issues supports my finding that she was and is a director in name only and plays no meaningful role as a director.
“Even a cursory examination of facts and a few simple questions would inevitably elicit the evidence of Kerry Mullins being a front for Sean Mullins.”
The TC found that Sean Mullins had deliberately hidden his bankruptcy from him and had operated vehicles while bankrupt.
Jones advised Kerry Mullins that she should not attempt to enter the industry again, and made no finding in respect of transport manager Ross Leafe.
- This article was published in the 6 October issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?