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07 May 08: Pensions Ombudsman initates prosecution for non compliance

“PENSIONS OMBUDSMAN LOSES PATIENCE – CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS INITIATED FOR NON COMPLIANCE WITH REQUESTS FOR DOCUMENTATION”

Yesterday in the Wexford Circuit Court, the Pensions Ombudsman, Mr. Paul Kenny, secured a court order requiring Mr. Joe Keane, a Director of the former Joe Keane Construction Company Ltd, to produce documentation in relation to employee pension deductions within 21 days.  Costs were awarded against the defendant.  The complaint before the Pensions Ombudsman alleges that pension contributions were deducted from wages by the company over a 3 year period but were not remitted to the Construction Industry Pension Scheme.

Commenting on the court action, Mr. Kenny said that non co-operation or prevarication in relation to requests for information by his Investigators would be met with the full force of the law.  “Some 50% of all complaints to my Office are resolved through mediation, where there is clearly a willingness on both sides to resolve the issue.  However, where formal requests for information made under Section 137(1) of the Pensions (Amendment) Act, 1990 are not complied with, my Office will not be given the run-around. This is the second such case within the last month - a similar action was taken in Galway Circuit Court on 10th April, marking a new tougher stance by my Office” he said.

“It gives me no pleasure to have to resort to court action to get people to comply with their legal requirements under the Pensions Act.  However, there comes a time when it has to be made abundantly clear that non compliance with requests from my Office will have immediate and serious legal consequences.  In the Wexford case, not alone is the defendant now subject to a Court Order to produce the documents within 21 days and must pay the costs of that action, I have also initiated criminal proceedings against him in Wexford District Court for non compliance with the initial request for information. As a consequence, anybody who fails to comply with a request for information from my Office should be fully alive to the fact that I will not hesitate to instigate a criminal action for non compliance and civil action to enforce the request”.

Ends

7th May 2008

For further information, contact Mr. Paul Kenny, Pensions Ombudsman, at (01) 6471650 or see www.pensionsombudsman.ie