A South Shields taxi firm that failed to declare one of its directors was a previously-banned cab driver has been ordered to pay out more than £1,500.
Redline Taxis applied for a licence to operate a private hire business in Gateshead in November and stated that it had two company directors – Mohsin Kahn and Mohammed Iqbal Malik.
However, a Gateshead Council search of Companies House records revealed an undisclosed third company director – Amjed Iqbal Malik.
He had previously been licensed as a hackney carriage and private hire driver by the council, but his licence was revoked in December 2011 as by then he was not considered to be a fit and proper person to hold one, in light of a number of criminal convictions.
Gateshead Council licensing officers were concerned the firm had made a deliberate attempt to hide Amjed Iqbal Malik’s involvement in the business, so invited the two declared directors to attend an interview to explain.
Mohammed Iqbal Malik attended the interview with his legal representative and presented a pre-prepared statement – but declined to answer any questions
Moshin Kahn did not attend the interview and failed to respond to all requests to do so.
It was later discovered that Mohsin Kahn was not even in the UK as his leave to remain had expired more than three years previously.
Redline Taxis pleaded guilty to knowingly omitting material information in an application for a licence at Gateshead Magistrates Court and was fined £900, with a £90 Victim Surcharge and had costs of £550 awarded against them.
Neither Mohammed Iqbal Malik nor Mohsin Kahn attended court and the case was heard in their absence. It is understood that Redline Taxis has now ceased trading although officers are looking into this further.
Anneliese Hutchinson, Gatesheads Council service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, said: "This appears to have been a deliberate attempt to deceive Gateshead Council on the ownership of a licensed business, and I am pleased that the courts have imposed a severe penalty.
"It is totally unacceptable that the company would seek to hide from the Licensing Authority the involvement of a man that was deemed totally unfit to drive a taxi due to his long criminal record."