By Alfred Sasako
GULATATA’E Shipping Enterprise Ltd – the company that runs the LC Gulatata’e in ferrying passengers and cargo – has been de-registered and could be operating illegally, government officials revealed yesterday.
Its sister company, Gulatata’e Land Transport Services Ltd, has also suffered the same fate, the officials said.
Both companies were removed from the Company Haus register for the same reason – failure to submit due Annual Return, Company Haus documents obtained by Island Sun yesterday, showed.
In the case of Gulatata’e Shipping Enterprises Ltd, the company has three directors who are also shareholders. They were appointed on 27 October 2015, the Certificate of Incorporation shows.
Other documents show the company has total shares of 100. The directors who are also shareholders are:
- Eric Arifanata who holds 40 percent share;
- John Kennedy Taufunu who also holds a 40 percent stake; and
- Titus Fika who owns 20 percent stake in the company, which according to Company Haus, is a private company.
Gulatata’e Shipping Enterprises Ltd was removed from the Company Haus register on September 1, 2017. This is because the company failed to file its annual return by February each year, the due date for its annual return filing.
Government officials said it would be illegal for any company taken off the Company Haus register to be conducting any commercial activities.
“Until the various fees, including the restoration fee, that are outstanding are settled, they should not be conducting any business at all,” one official said.
Some businessmen have echoed similar views, suggesting that deregistration has the potential to invite the taxman to examine Gulatata’e Shipping Enterprises Ltd’s books to see how much money the company had made since it began operating in the country.
It is not clear whether the carriage of passengers and cargo between February last year and May this year breached any regulations administered by the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Authority (SIMSA).
The LC Gulatata’e was bought with taxpayer funding from the infamous Transport fund. It is understood East Kwaio received at least $6 million from the Transport funds.
Meanwhile Company Haus documents have provided details on the Gulatata’e Land Transport Services Ltd, which was operating a fleet of trucks between Auki and Atori in East Malaita.
The documents show the company was incorporated on March 14, 2016. Its filing month of annual return is February each year, according to the documents.
But the company whose registered office is in Auki, Malaita Province did not filed its return in 2017, prompting Company Haus, to remove it from its register.
The documents showed Gulatata’e Land Transport Services Ltd was de-registered or removed from the register on September 1 last year.
The details below were obtained by Island Sun on the company.
Company Type: Private Company
Company Name: GULATATAE LAND TRANSPORT SERVICES LIMITED
Date Name First Used: 14-Mar-2016
Company Status: Removed
Incorporation Date: 14-Mar-2016
De-Registration Date: 01-Sep-2017
Reason for Removal: Failure to submit due Annual Return
Company Rules: Company will use Model Rules
Main Business Sector: Transportation
Annual Return Filing Month: February
Island Sun yesterday contacted John Kennedy Taufunu via email, requesting confirmation of the company’s deregistration.
Mr Taufunu’s one-liner response was, “I will confirm the information before coming back to you.”
He never did.
Company Haus says Gulatata’e Land Transport Services now owes the government more than $2, 000 in various fees, including
Restoration fee: $1,000.00
Annual return 2017: $650
Annual 2018 – Feb – $250 plus April & May @ $100 each – $450
Total owing to be paid @ Treasury: $2,100
Others suggest that the fact that the both companies could not afford to file its return could mean they may be facing difficulties.