Saturday, 11 March 2017

Companies House - Asleep at the desk?

Abraham Lincoln: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

As I listened to an investigative programme some time ago it was claimed that not much was known about the business activities of a named company director. Had programme researchers looked at Companies House records all manner of curiosities would have come to light.

Companies House is the United Kingdom's registrar of companies and is an executive agency and trading fund of Her Majesty's Government.

The Companies Act 2006 was fully implemented on 1 October 2009 and the Northern Ireland companies register was fully integrated into Companies House. Companies House maintains a satellite office in Belfast, headed by the Registrar of Companies for Northern Ireland.

Before 1 October 2009 all limited companies in Northern Ireland were registered with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and were subject to Northern Ireland law.

1250 Misleading, false and deceptive statements

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if—

(a)for the purposes of or in connection with any application under this Part, or

(b)in purported compliance with any requirement imposed on him by or by virtue of this Part,

he knowingly or recklessly furnishes information which is misleading, false or deceptive in a material particular.

But just how thoroughly do Companies House staff cross-check the information supplied? A casual browse through current records would show that a crafty operator such as the fictional William James Alexander O'Kane might have many aliases, dates of birth and correspondence addresses. Just look at some of the permutations of forenames: William, William James, William James Alexander, Alexander James - and even Jim. His surname might be listed as O'Kane or O Kane. What about dates of birth? I dare say that three different dates of birth might slip through the large holes in the net eg March 1973, March 1975 and May 1975 - in addition to a few different correspondence addresses.

You won't find our fictional friend on the Companies House register but you might just find real directors with more than one alias, date of birth and/or correspondence address.