The Pensions Board prosecutes Director for non remittance of pension contributions
Friday 15 October 2010: In Limerick District Court today, Peter Stritch, director of Bellisle Properties Ltd. (in liquidation), was convicted of five offences of failing to remit pension contributions to the Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS) and fined a sum of €1,000 on each of the five counts with six months to pay. He was also ordered to pay €5,000 in legal costs. Bellisle Properties Ltd (In Liquidation) was also convicted and fined a sum of €1,000 in respect of each of the five offences before the court, with three months to pay. The case was heard by Judge O’Donnell who noted that the non-payment of pension contributions by Peter Stritch was deliberate and occurred during the construction boom period.
Peter Stritch, with an address at Bellisle, Clonlara, Co. Clare, was a director of Bellisle Properties Limited (in Liquidation), a company which had deducted pension contributions from the wages and salaries of its employees between October 2006 and December 2008 for remittance to the trustees of CWPS and failed to remit the pension contributions to the trustees within the statutory timeframe. The offences of the company were committed with the consent or connivance of or attributable to neglect on the part of Peter Stritch, as director of Bellisle Properties Ltd., contrary to the provisions of Section 58A(1) and Section 3 of the Act.
Ms Mary Hutch, Head of Regulation at The Pensions Board in giving evidence on behalf of The Pensions Board, stated that on foot of receiving complaints from employees that this employer had deducted pension contributions from their wages and salaries but failed to remit them to the relevant scheme, the Board’s investigative personnel carried out a search of the company’s premises on July 23rd 2009 to investigate this matter. It was stated in Court that it was estimated that the employees’ pension contributions which were deducted from employees’ wages and salaries but not remitted to the relevant scheme came to a sum of €53,527.34. This meant that employees working for that company were not covered for sick-pay benefits or death-in-service benefits between October 2006 and December 2008.
The Pensions Board supervises occupational pension schemes and monitors employers’ compliance with the legislation relating to the collection and remittance of pension contributions.
Commenting on the conviction in this case, the Chief Executive of the Pensions Board, Mr. Brendan Kennedy, said, “The conviction today should act as a warning to all employers and directors that The Pensions Board treats the failure of the employer to remit pension contributions to the trustees of the pension scheme as a very serious offence. The Board is currently preparing prosecutions of a number of other employers and directors. We advise any employer with outstanding pension contributions to contact the pension scheme to regularise their position.”
For further information:
Head of Information
The Pensions Board
Tel (01) 6131900/ 087 6857743
Q4 Public Relations
Tel (01) 4751444/ 087 2371838
Note to Editors
The Pensions Board
The Pensions Board is the statutory body established by The Pensions Act 1990 to regulate occupational pension schemes, trust based RACs and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and to advise the Minister for Social and Family Affairs, and through him, the Government, on overall pension policy development. See www.pensionsboard.ie
Under the Act, the Board has power to investigate the state and conduct of Irish pension schemes, and to ensure that trustees, employers, pension administrators and their advisers comply with the obligations they owe to current and former employees in relation to their pension contributions and benefits.
The Board’s powers allow it to conduct on-site visits without notice, seize and copy relevant documents, enter dwellings on foot of a warrant, and to prosecute and or sue any person that contravenes the provisions of the Act.
The Construction Workers Pension Scheme (“CWPS”)
CWPS is an occupational pension scheme approved by the Revenue Commissioners and registered with the Pensions Board. It was established pursuant to a Registered Employment Agreement (“REA”) on Construction Industry Pensions, Assurance and Sick Pay, which is registered by the Labour Court and was concluded between employers and employee organisations operating in the construction industry.
Under the REA, all employers operating in the construction industry are required to become a party to an approved contributory pension scheme to provide pension and death-in-service benefits to employees. These obligations are discharged by deducting pension contributions from their employees and remitting them to CWPS or another appropriate scheme.