On Thursday 19 June 2014 at the Old Bailey, two security directors were disqualified from acting as company directors for a total of six years.
John Anah (aged 56) and 54-year-old Tony O’Gonna ran three security companies: Anco UK Limited, AA Guarding Limited and Metro Guards UK Limited, all of them based in Woolwich.
In December 2012, the companies came to the attention of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) when an unlicensed security officer was found working at a building site in London. SIA investigator then issued a formal warning to Anco UK Limited.
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 officers to ten different building sites around London.
Hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court: October 2013
In October 2013 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Anah and the three security companies pleaded guilty to ten 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 Anah with the operational side of the business and that he never consented to the supply of unlicensed security officers.
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’s expected that fines will follow the conclusion of the confiscation proceedings.
The hearing is due to take place later this year.
Complex and challenging investigation
The SIA’s 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 security officers had neither been trained nor properly vetted to recognised national standards. In one instance, an officer had actually been refused an SIA licence due to convictions relating to common assault and disorderly behaviour. The court also heard that some security officers did not have a legitimate right to reside or work in the UK.”
Salmon added: “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 officers were supplied.”
In conclusion, Salmon stated: “I would like to offer our thanks to everyone who supported the investigation and prosecution of this case.”