A fried chicken shop boss has been disqualified after falsely demanding more than £50,000 in covid support money. Ifraz Nabi, 41, has been banned from running businesses for seven years after abusing the Eat Out to Help Out and covid leave arrangements for his takeaway New York Krispy Fried Chicken in Levenshulme.
After the company went bankrupt in November 2020, an investigation by the Insolvency Service found that it “failed to maintain or retain adequate accounting records” so the claims could not be supported. Mr Nabi is reportedly the first company director to be disqualified for misuse of emergency aid during a pandemic.
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In total, the company claimed £30,388.92 from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and £23,711.74 from the covid job retention scheme between June and October 2020. Eat Out To Help Out would also only help restaurants with indoor seating, but while New York Krispy Fried Chicken had a number of indoor diners and relied on takeout orders for the vast majority of its income.
Nina Cassar, deputy head of investigations at the Insolvency Service, told The Times: “One of the main purposes of the disqualification is to ensure that company leaders adhere to minimum standards. Ifraz Nabi not only managed to keep his company’s books up to date, , he failed to register and pay his business taxes, as well as abusing Covid-19 support schemes designed to support businesses in real need.
“This disqualification should be a reminder that the Insolvency Service will take action against those who abuse their position and do not take their obligations seriously.”
At the start of the pandemic, around 11.7 million jobs – a third of the workforce – were supported through the government’s £69 billion furlough programme. Estimates from HM Revenue and Customs suggest that more than £6 billion was lost to fraud and error.