TC ‘horrified’ by scale of debts operator owed

Disqualified

An Avonmouth haulier that “treated the tax-paying British public with disdain” has had its licence revoked and its director disqualified indefinitely.

Mulholland International only just retained its licence following a public inquiry (PI) last year, during which traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney discovered that a previous company linked to director Wendy Mulholland had used £50,000 of VAT owed to the Crown to pay trade creditors when it entered insolvent administration in 2019.

Despite this, Rooney allowed the licence of Mulholland International to continue “by the finest of margins” after the firm agreed to provide a compliance audit within four months. However, the company failed with this undertaking and the TC was subsequently made aware that it had entered creditors voluntary liquidation.

TC Rooney said: “I was horrified to find from the statement of affairs that the company was estimated to owe £254,715, of which far and away the major part was owed to the Crown.”

This was made up of £133,000 owed to HMRC and a bounce-back loan of £37,077.

At the latest PI, director Mulholland, who was also transport manager, failed to attend and instead responded to the call-in letter stating that she did not understand why the case was being called.

Referring to her compliance history, Rooney said: “There appears here to be a pattern to Wendy Mulholland’s behaviour and she treats the tax-paying British public with disdain.

“This is a three-vehicle operation. How it could possibly have generated a £170,000 deficit in such a short period of time is beyond me. It is for the liquidators to undertake their statutory duties in that regard.

“However, on the balance of probabilities and noting that the sole director and transport manager today failed to attend, I find that good repute is lost both as a director and transport manager as Wendy Mulholland is not to be trusted.”

The TC added that although disqualification in a revocation case is not automatic, the scale of losses to the Crown, including a bounce-back loan, and the pattern of Mulholland’s involvement with insolvencies, meant that she should not be allowed to continue in the haulage industry.