The West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) has revoked the licence of a Birmingham builders’ merchant and disqualified its directors indefinitely after finding that it operated vehicles before its licence was granted.
TC Nick Denton also said that HRA Builders Merchants had failed in an undertaking that disgraced director Zaman Ali would have no involvement in the business and it had failed to provide “simple” tachograph information, as well as failing to appear at a subsequent public inquiry (PI).
The operator was granted a licence for four HGVs in September 2021, with a number of undertakings attached. These included that directors Ansar Ali and Saika Bibi did not allow Ali’s parents – Zaman Ali and Arshad Begum – to be involved in the business other than as shareholders; and that the transport consultant Thomas Reddy would be utilised for the first three months to assist the new transport manager, Magdalena Talty, in ensuring compliance.
Ali’s parents had previously been criticised by a deputy TC for the way in which they had managed another licence, after the DVSA found numerous and serious shortcomings in compliance.
However, very shortly after the TC granted HRA its licence, the TC’s office received allegations that the business had already been running lorries.
It also transpired that Reddy’s services were not taken up and nominated transport manager Talty had resigned with immediate effect after not being satisfied with the company’s explanation for operating vehicles prior to being granted a licence.
The operator and its directors were invited to a PI, but they did not attend and they failed to provide any evidence of financial standing or maintenance and drivers’ hours records.
In his written decision, TC Denton said the central licensing office had received emails from Zaman Ali, which suggested he was closely involved with the day-to-day business, in breach of the licence undertaking.
Denton said: “On the balance of probability, I find that HRA operated vehicles before its licence was granted.”
He found that the operator was not of good repute, revoked the licence immediately and disqualified both directors indefinitely.