Two security directors have been ordered to pay fines and costs of almost £30,000 after pleading guilty to security offences.
Peter Kihara Kahoro, 38, and Penina Wambui Kihara, 42, both from Cricklade, Swindon and directors of Luton-based Express Security Solutions Ltd and Express Security Ltd, appeared at Swindon Magistrates Court.
Kahoro admitted failing to provide information to, and intentionally making false statements to, the Security Industry Authority. Kihara admitted failing to provide information to, and recklessly making false statements to, the SIA.
The Security Industry Authority launched an investigation amid concerns about unlicensed individuals, false identities and improper immigration controls. The investigation involved four companies, Express Personnel Ltd, Express Security Solutions Ltd, Express Security Ltd and Express Security (UK) Ltd, all of which appear to have operated interchangeably under the trading name of Express Security.
The court heard that in June 2010, Kahoro was requested by the SIA under its powers to provide information in relation to Express Security Solutions Ltd. He failed to provide the information requested and his reply to the SIA stated that he had “no interest in any security company other than a client accountant relationship.”
The court then heard that, also in June 2010, Kihara had received a similar request in relation to Express Security Ltd. Her response to the SIA was that the company of which she was a director had no employees and no work.
The prosecution said Kahoro’s reply was “entirely misleading and done to avoid providing information about the people he supplied on site,” and that Kihara’s statement “was misleading and false.”
The representative for Kahoro described Kahoro’s response as “ill judged and intemperate...his actions have been at significant cost to him.”
The representative for Kihara stated that she had not understood the request and “did not make diligent enquiries.”
In sentencing Kahoro, the magistrate, said: “Clearly the SIA made a legitimate request... quite clearly your letter was misjudged and not appropriate for a properly run company, you were not fully aware of the powers the SIA has to control the industry.” He said of Kihara: “much the same is true.”
The court took into account Kihara’s early guilty plea, but also Kahoro’s delayed plea, their financial means and submissions made by their representatives.
Kahoro was fined £1000 for failing to comply with the SIA’s request for information, £2000 for making a false statement and ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
Kihara was fined £1000 for failing to comply with the SIA’s request for information, £750 for recklessly making a false statement and ordered to pay £5000 costs. Both were ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge each.
SIA Head of Formal Investigation Sara Brennan said: “The court recognised the seriousness of the offences presented and the importance of the powers given to the SIA under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to regulate the industry.
“The case involved four legal entities; Kahoro and Kihara attempted to confuse the investigation in respect of which entity was trading.
“Mr Kahoro is a Chartered Accountant and the defence advised the court that this conviction would have an adverse impact on his ability to continue to practice as such.
“The outcome of this case signifies the importance of adherence to requests for information by the SIA. This includes persons of professional standing.”