A South Shields taxi firm has been fined more than £1,500 after failing to declare a previously-banned taxi driver as one of its directors in an application for an operator’s licence.
In November 2016, Redline Taxis of South Shields applied for a licence to operate a private hire business in Gateshead and stated that they had two company directors – Mohsin Kahn and Mohammed Iqbal Malik.
However, a subsequent search of Companies House records by Gateshead Council revealed an undisclosed third company director – Amjed Iqbal Malik.
Amjed Iqbal Malik had previously been licensed as a hackney carriage and private hire driver by Gateshead Council, but in December 2011 the council revoked his licence 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 that Redline Taxis had made a deliberate attempt to hide Amjed Iqbal Malik’s involvement in their business, so they invited the two declared directors to 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.
At Gateshead Magistrate’s Court on March 14, Redline Taxis pleaded guilty to knowingly omitting material information in an application for a licence and were fined £900, with a £90 Victim Surcharge and had costs of £550 awarded against them.
Neither Mohammed Iqbal Malik or 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, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says:
“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”.