Yesterday, [19 June], at the Old Bailey, two security directors were disqualified from acting as company directors for a total of six years.
John Anah, 56, and Tony O’Gonna, 54, ran three security companies: Anco UK Limited, AA Guarding Limited and Metro Guards UK Limited, all based in Woolwich.
In December 2012 the companies came to the attention of the Security Industry Authority when an unlicensed security guard was found working at a building site in London. SIA investigators issued a formal warning to Anco.
A few weeks later SIA investigators conducted an inspection of the business premises in Woolwich and discovered the true scale of the illegal activity.
It was found that between August 2012 and July 2013 the companies supplied 33 unlicensed security guards to 10 different building sites around London.
In October 2013, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Anah and the three security companies pleaded guilty to 10 charges of supplying unlicensed security operatives contrary to section 5 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. O’Gonna pleaded not guilty to the same offence.
In March 2014, O’Gonna was found guilty at the City of London Magistrates’ Court. During the trial the magistrate rejected O’Gonna’s claims that he entrusted Ahan with the operational side of the business and that he never consented to the supply of unlicensed security guards. The sentencing was referred to Crown Court.
Anah was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from acting as a director for four years. O’Gonna was disqualified from acting as a security director for two years.
Additionally, the SIA and the London Regional Asset Recovery Team have commenced legal proceedings against the two individuals and their security companies under the Proceeds of Crime Act. It is expected that fines will follow the conclusion of the confiscation proceedings. The hearing is due to take place later this year.
Head of Investigation Nathan Salmon said:
“I welcome this verdict, which brings to a close a complex and challenging investigation.
“The defendants provided misinformation to the SIA in order to distance themselves from the offending. Some of these guards had neither been trained nor properly vetted to recognised national standards. In one instance a guard had actually been refused an SIA licence due to convictions relating to common assault and disorderly behaviour. The court also heard that some security guards did not have a legitimate right to reside or work in the UK.
“The verdicts comprehensively discredit the directors’ version of events and their inability to effectively operate a security business.
“The directors now face the prospect of another court challenge, this time regarding the money they made as a result of their illegal business practice. We will seek appropriate confiscation of the monies earned during contracts where unlicensed security guards were supplied.
“I would like to offer our thanks to everyone who supported the investigation and prosecution of this case.”