Two directors who allowed their company to run a truck on red diesel and carry alcohol without the correct paperwork have been disqualified for four years.
Walsall-based Innovate Logistics had its O-licence revoked by West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones (pictured) on 9 September. Director Daniel Freeman and former director Imran Shareef were disqualified from holding an O-licence for four years.
The company also operated a vehicle that had not had an MoT for two years and a trailer that had an MoT that was close to being four years out-of-date.
The truck, which was seized by HMRC in May, was not displaying an O-licence disc and had a European Community licence in another company’s name.
The vehicle was only specified on the company’s O-licence when it was stopped by examiners and later removed the same day.
It had also operated without a transport manager. Nominated transport manager David Edkins told the Office of the Traffic Commissioner when he resigned in May that he had not been paid by Shareef, and said the firm had been adding and removing vehicles from its O-licence without his knowledge.
Innovate Logistics was called to a public inquiry (PI) in July following concerns that Freeman’s father, who had served a prison sentence for smuggling cigarettes, was involved in the business.
Freeman, who claimed to have bought the company without knowing it had been called to the PI, had previously applied for an O-licence in another traffic area, but this had been refused.
Companies House records showed that Freeman was appointed as a director from 1 April, but he claimed to have only taken on the position three weeks before the PI. He told the TC that his appointment had been backdated “just for tax records”.
Jones said: “I note that it was claimed that the sale of the company was backdated solely for tax purposes and that Companies House records didn’t reflect the true position. I reflect that if Daniel Freeman is attempting to mislead tax authorities, he might seek to mislead me too.”
Freeman also said he purchased the company despite knowing that there was no transport manager as he had fallen out with Shareef.
The company failed to demonstrate financial standing as Freeman claimed he had been advised not to by a consultant. The TC did not accept this.
Jones described Freeman as an “arrogant, confident rogue” and said: “Daniel Freeman is relatively young at 25 years old – he claimed to be experienced, having learned from his father. Unfortunately Daniel Freeman’s father had his operator’s licence revoked and served a two-year prison sentence for a serious matter involving illegal transportation of cigarettes.”
The TC said Shareef had been equally culpable and found he had removed the truck from the company’s O-licence when he realised the red diesel had been discovered alongside the illicit alcohol transport.
- This article was published in the 6 October issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?