Post: ASIC protects small business by disqualifying four directors for failures relating to the management of small proprietary companies

During the period 1 January to 31 March 2024, ASIC has banned four directors from managing corporations following their role in the collapse of multiple small proprietary companies leaving many creditors unpaid including the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), employees and other small business creditors. Some of the directors had also engaged in illegal phoenix activity and used company funds to make payments to related parties for no commercial reason.

The failure of company directors to pay the ATO, employee entitlements or other creditors puts them at an unfair competitive advantage over other small proprietary companies.

Through enforcement action, ASIC demonstrates there are consequences for the mismanagement of small and large companies, which can affect small businesses because their debts remain outstanding and often lead to those businesses having to close their doors. ASIC will take action against individual directors to protect the wider public, employees and other businesses against the future mismanagement of companies.

Rukshan (Rick) Wickramanayake
Textiles industry director Rukshan (Rick) Wickramanayake of Penrith, NSW was disqualified from managing corporations for one year due to his poor management which led to the failure of three small proprietary companies, which owed a combined total of $1,487,009.18 to unsecured creditors, including the ATO. ASIC disqualified Mr Wickramanayake until 5 February 2025.

Shane Dunstan
Engineering and mining services director Shane Andrew James Dunstan of Brisbane, QLD was disqualified from managing corporations for two years due to his involvement in the failure of four small proprietary companies, which owed a combined total of $4,885,034 to over 50 unsecured creditors, including the ATO and $52,043 for unpaid wages and employee leave entitlements, and $23,173 owed to Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) for payments made to former employees.

ASIC disqualified Mr Dunstan until 11 February 2026.

Alaa Al Hassan
ASIC previously issued a media release regarding the disqualification of former hospitality, construction, cleaning and electrical industries sector director Alaa Al Hassan for the maximum period of five years due to his involvement in the failure of seven small proprietary companies, which owed a combined total of $3,723,402.16 to unsecured creditors including the ATO, $547,346 owed to Revenue NSW and $23,246 owed to former employees including for unpaid superannuation: 24-035MR ASIC disqualifies NSW director for maximum five years after failure of seven companies.

ASIC disqualified Mr Hassan until 14 February 2029.

Dane Stojic
Construction industry director Dane Stojic of South Coogee, NSW was disqualified from managing corporations for a period of four years due to his involvement in the failure of eight small proprietary companies owed a combined total of $33,357,590.28 to unsecured creditors, including $13,768,044.14 owing to the ATO, $1,315,512.69 to the Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer and $1,794,824.30 to the Office of State Revenue.

ASIC disqualified Mr Stojic until 26 February 2028.

Assetless Administration Fund
In disqualifying these directors, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by the following liquidators after ASIC approved funding from the Assetless Administration Fund:

Mr Michael Jones of Jones Partners was the appointed liquidator of one of Mr Wickramanayake’s companies
Mr Gavin Morton of Morton + Lee Insolvency was the liquidator of Mr Dunstan’s companies
Mr David Hurst of Mackay Goodwin and Mr Daniel Frisken of O’Brien Palmer were the liquidators of Mr Hassan’s companies
Mr Ian Niccol of Ashton Chace Group and Mr Shumit Banerjee (Westburn Advisory) and Mr Domenic Calabretta (Mackay Goodwin) were the liquidators ASIC relied on for supplementary reports of Mr Stojic’s companies.

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