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24 Sep 09: Two more court successes for Pensions Ombudsman in cases against Builders

“Company liquidation will not stop investigation - Kenny”
The Pensions Ombudsman Mr. Paul Kenny was successful today in two Court actions which he had initiated against construction companies which had failed to produce payroll documentation which was requested under Section 137 (1) of the Pensions Act 1990 as amended, in connection with investigations into the deduction and non-remittance of pension contributions.
In Kildare District Court, Mr. Patrick Deering was prosecuted for failing to produce documentation relating to two complaints which had been made to the Pensions Ombudsman alleging deduction and non-remittance of pension contributions.
Mr. Kenny said: “Although the initial complaints were made against a company called Owjen Electrical Services Limited, of which Mr. Deering was a Director, this company had been put into liquidation. However, I decided to pursue Mr. Deering for the documentation and today in Kildare District Court he was convicted and fined €1,000 on each of two counts, for failure to produce the required documentation from his liquidated company. He will still have to produce the documentation and he was fined €2,000 with €1,400 costs. If necessary I will go to the Circuit Court for an Order requiring him to produce the documentation. What is important is that his case makes it clear that even if a company is liquidated, Directors cannot walk away from their responsibilities. I will take all legal steps open to me to obtain the documentation I require. Furthermore, in cases involving company liquidations where it is clear to me that the Directors must have been fully aware of what was happening, I will issue a Final Determination on a complaint which will provide for redress and make Directors personally liable”.
In a separate complaint, the Pensions Ombudsman had sought an Order from Carlow Circuit Court directing Mr. Des Murphy of Recruit & Construct Limited to produce copies of all payslips held by the company. This particular case involved the death of an employee. As pension deductions had been made but not remitted by the company, the expected Death-in-Service Benefit could not be paid by the Construction Workers Pension Scheme to his dependants. 
Before the case was heard, Mr. Murphy produced the relevant documentation to my Investigator and paid my legal costs. In the circumstances, I was happy to allow the case to be struck outHowever, the nature of this case, involving as it does a Death-in-Service Benefit, means that I will pursue my investigation vigorously”, he said. 
For further information contact Mr. Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman at (01) 647 1650, or see
24th September 2009