The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) is required to promote compliance with the requirements of the Companies Acts and to bring non-compliant officers and companies to account. Paul Appleby is currently the Director of Corporate Enforcement and the ODCE has 50 staff.
The role of the ODCE may be broken down into two categories:
The ODCE communicates the benefits of compliance and the outcomes of non-compliance. It is the duty of Company Directors to understand their responsibilities and ensure compliance.
In relation to Enforcement, the powers of the ODCE are wide-ranging. The ODCE has power to:
- Commence fact-finding company investigations;
- Prosecute persons for suspected non-compliance of the Companies Acts;
- Supervise companies in liquidation and unliquidated insolvent companies;
- Apply to the Courts for the restriction and disqualification of company directors;
- Supervise liquidators and receivers; and
- Regulate company directors who are undischarged bankrupts.
In 2010, the ODCE instituted Court proceedings in which 8 Directors were disqualified and 156 Directors were restricted. So far in 2011, the ODCE has been successful as 9 Directors were disqualified and 5 Directors were convicted of criminal charges.
Compliance is mandatory and non compliance is actionable in the Courts, with serious consequences for Directors.