‘Fronting’ concerns result in licence refusal

O-licence

An application to run 10 HGVs has been refused after the traffic commissioner found that the Wiltshire haulier was “more likely than not” a front for two businesses that had their licences revoked.

3TC Logistics made its application just 17 days after TC Kevin Rooney made a revocation order for BKG Transport and Whiteparish Transport, both of which were run by the father and uncle of Tom Gover who was named as a director of 3TC. The operating centre was also the same address and the authority requested at application was the same as that proposed for a merged BKG/Whiteparish operation shortly before the TC revoked the licences in 2018.

At a Bristol public inquiry, Tom Gover and Carlo Ward appeared before the TC to discuss 3TC’s application and their links to the revoked licences.

Gover said he had only worked at BKG as a student and he had no regulatory or criminal adverse history. Ward confirmed he was still involved with an MOD contract at BKG, but that he had no management role and other than paying rent to BKG for a warehouse, 3TC had no relationship with the haulier.

On behalf of 3TC, solicitor David Thompson said it had been running for more than four years as a freight forwarder and operating 3.5-tonne vans and so was therefore not acting as a front for businesses that had their licences revoked in 2018. He acknowledged that Tom Gover’s relationship to the revoked companies’ directors was “difficult”, but not his fault.

However, TC Rooney called into question Ward’s evidence that he was just a junior employee at BKG and Whiteparish: “I find that Carlo Ward either allowed me to be lied to and misled in June 2018 or he is lying to me now,” he said in a written decision.

“Given his attendance at the hearings in June 2018, it is more likely than not that his role within those businesses was at least influential and he was a senior manager during the period of significant non-compliance.”

The TC added that the indications were that the Gover family were treating all three businesses as mutually interchangeable and concluded: “I find it more likely than not that this application is a front for a continuing operation of vehicles by either Tony Gover and Terry Gover as part of a related group of businesses owned in all or in part by the Gover family and/or members thereof.”

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