By Max Clarke

Former Gangmaster Kashmir Singh was this week disqualified for 13 years from being a director of a company following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Singh’s ban, which commences on 28 December relates to his activities as a director of Newtex Limited.

Commenting on the case, Stephen Speed, Chief Executive of The Insolvency Service said;

“Singh exploited his employees, showing a total disregard for the standards and behaviour expected of someone in his position. Being a director carries with it certain responsibilities, which Singh completely ignored. His disqualification shows that the Insolvency Service will take action against directors who fail to adhere to their duties.

The investigation found that he exploited his position as a gangmaster to underpay employees and also failed to keep proper records in respect of Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and tax payments due on over £4m worth of sales income.

The company obtained a Gangmaster Licensing Authority Licence (GLA) in order to provide employees for seasonal agricultural work. The investigation found that having obtained a GLA licence in 2006, the company operated until 2008, when the licence was revoked, following an unannounced inspection of a customer for which Newtex had supplied the labour.

In signing a Director Disqualification Undertaking, Singh admitted that he:

* failed to ensure that adequate documentation was kept in respect of Pay As You Earn and payments to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs;
* failed to comply with agricultural minimum wage standards;
* failed to calculate or provide holiday entitlements in accordance with agricultural standards ;
* failed to ensure that all workers were legally entitled to work in the UK;
* failed to disclose the true number of clients the company had on its books;
* allowed the company to use unidentified bank accounts in order to avoid making the proper payments to HMRC;

The length of the ban reflects the level of responsibility that Singh had for the way in which Newtex operated.