ASIC has disqualified director Chin Ann David Howe, of Sydney, NSW, from managing corporations for one year due to his involvement in the failure of eight companies.
Between 20 August 2014 and 10 October 2022, Mr Howe was a director of:
- TJP George Pty Ltd (ACN 626 385 653);
- TJP Pitt Pty Ltd (ACN 626 385 644);
- TJP Sydney Pty Ltd (ACN 627 621 783); and
- Viadar Holdings Pty Ltd (ACN 601 358 249).
These companies operated restaurants in Sydney. In the liquidator reports lodged with ASIC, it was further alleged that between 20 August 2014 and 17 November 2018 Mr Howe was a de-facto director of four companies, namely:
- THW Sydney Pty Ltd (ACN 601 366 367);
- THW George Pty Ltd (ACN 602 637 712);
- THW Chatswood Pty Ltd (ACN 601 366 447); and
- THW Pitt Pty Ltd (ACN 607 378 076).
These companies operated a number of Tim Ho Wan dim sum restaurants in Sydney under a franchise agreement.
ASIC found that Mr Howe acted improperly and failed to meet his obligations as a director of TJP George, TJP Pitt, TJP Sydney and Viadar Holdings Pty Ltd when he:
- failed to be an active participant in the management of these companies; and
- failed to properly oversee the business activities of these companies for a significant period, causing detriment to creditors and other third parties.
At the time of the decision, the eight companies owed a combined total of $6,173,420.78 to unsecured creditors, including $568,886.09 to the ATO.
In disqualifying Mr Howe, ASIC relied on a supplementary report lodged by TJP George Pty Ltd’s liquidator, Steven Arthur Gladman of Hall Chadwick. ASIC assisted the liquidator to provide his report by approving an application for funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.
Mr Howe is disqualified from managing corporations until 29 March 2024.
The disqualification order includes an exception that permits Mr Howe to continue to be a director of Inouvo Habitat Pty Ltd ACN 108 482 533, a real estate company.
Mr Howe has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Section 206F of the Corporations Act allows ASIC to disqualify a person from managing corporations for a maximum period of five years if, within a seven-year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies, and those companies were wound up and a liquidator provides a report to ASIC about each of the company’s inability to pay its debts.
ASIC maintains a banned and disqualified persons register that provides information about people who have been disqualified from:
- involvement in the management of a corporation;
- auditing self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs); or
- practising in the financial services or credit industry.