Com­pa­nies Of­fice strikes hundreds of delin­quents from list

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOMETHING EXTRA - An­dre Poyser Staff Re­porter an­dre.poyser@glean­erjm.com

A man pig­gy­backs a woman across a street flooded by a nearby river which over­flowed as a re­sult of the heavy rains caused by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Léogâne, Haiti, on Wed­nes­day.

HUNDREDS OF com­pa­nies have been struck from the regis­ter of the Com­pa­nies Of­fice of Ja­maica (COJ) for fail­ure to file in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to their com­pa­nies and di­rec­tors as they are re­quired to do an­nu­ally.

The COJ has in­di­cated that it continues to be plagued by a high level of non-com­pli­ance by these com­pa­nies which should have filed forms re­lat­ing to par­tic­u­lars of di­rec­tors, no­tice of ap­point­ment of com­pany sec­re­tary, regis­tered of­fice no­tice and an­nual re­turns.

Section 337 of the Com­pa­nies Act em­pow­ers the regis­trar of com­pa­nies to ex­er­cise dis­cre­tion to re­move a com­pany from the regis­ter if there is rea­son to be­lieve the com­pany is not op­er­at­ing.

For the 2013-2014 fi­nan­cial year, 1,731 com­pa­nies were re­moved from the regis­ter. That fig­ure de­clined to 1,721 for year end 2014-2015. Be­tween 2015 and the start of this year, 1,720 com­pa­nies were deemed to be non-op­er­a­tional, re­sult­ing in 5,172 com­pa­nies be­ing dereg­is­tered over the pe­riod.

“The main chal­lenges fac­ing the COJ is the high rate of

Lit­i­ga­tion against delin­quent com­pa­nies and their di­rec­tors is only pur­sued af­ter attempts to achieve vol­un­tary com­pli­ance fail.

delin­quency among com­pa­nies,” an email re­sponse to The Gleaner from the govern­ment agency said.

FAIL­URE TO FILE

Ac­cord­ing to the agency, the prob­lem of fail­ure to file re­quired doc­u­ments is most acute in the parishes of Kingston and St An­drew, where the delin­quency rate is 90 per cent.

The COJ has also said that it has in­ad­e­quate staff in its com­pli­ance depart­ment and, as such, it is un­able to ef­fec­tively ad­dress the delin­quen­cies.

“Seven com­pli­ance of­fi­cers ser­vice in ex­cess of 60,000 com­pa­nies on regis­ter,” the agency said.

De­spite what it de­scribes as a mis­match be­tween its staff com­ple­ment and the work­load of the com­pli­ance depart­ment, the COJ says it has taken steps to re­duce the num­ber of delin­quent com­pa­nies.

The agency has in­tro­duced bi­monthly mo­biles tar­get­ing parishes out­side of Kingston and St An­drew.

“This strat­egy in­volves the de­liv­ery of the agency’s ser­vices to ru­ral parishes to al­low for ease of ac­cess and do­ing business,” the agency said.

The COJ also dis­closed that it will soon be open­ing an of­fice in Mon­tego Bay so that com­pa­nies in the west­ern end of the is­land do not have to come into Kingston to file doc­u­ments.

The agency has said it en­gages in port­fo­lio man­age­ment in ar­eas of high delin­quency and has con­tin­ued its pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme. Pay­ment plan op­tions are also pro­vided for delin­quent com­pa­nies.

Ac­cord­ing to the agency, lit­i­ga­tion against delin­quent com­pa­nies and their di­rec­tors is only pur­sued af­ter attempts to achieve vol­un­tary com­pli­ance fail.

AP

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