Pension case under way

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale began hearing evidence on Wednesday in the National Pensions Board’s case against Cayman Flooring and Kitchen Specialists and Scott Henderson.

The charges allege failure to make contributions to a pension plan for employees and failure to provide required information to the Superintendent of Pensions.

Last year the company pleaded to charges covering the period December 2002 to June 2005.

Charges against Mr. Henderson personally were not put to him at that time because discussions were still going on between the Crown and Defence. It was hoped that the amount of money owed would be agreed on (Caymanian Compass, 1 December).

The matter came back to court several times, with no agreement reached.

On Wednesday, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards advised that the company was formed 22 November 2002. She therefore asked that charges relating to previous months be put to Mr. Henderson personally.

Those charges started with March 2002 and Mr Henderson pleaded not guilty.

Ms Richards and Defence Attorney Clyde Allen agreed that the issue to be determined was whether Mr. Henderson was the employer.

‘My client was president, but not a director,’ Mr. Allen said. ‘We say the directors should be here for the charges.’

Ms Richards said the Crown’s position was that the defendant was the mind and management of the company.

Also put to Mr. Henderson personally were charges pertaining to Office Pavilion, described as a second company he was operating. These related to the period September 2004 to August 2005 and he again pleaded not guilty.

One issue settled early in the day was whether an employer was liable for the whole 10 per cent that the Pensions Law requires to be paid for each employee based on his or her salary.

The magistrate agreed that the law tells an employer to deduct the employee’s share, put in his share and pay the full 10 per cent.

An employer who fails to make contributions to a pension plan for an employee is guilty and liable in Summary Court to a fine of $5,000.

In addition, Ms Richards pointed out, when a person is convicted of failing to make payment to a pension fund, the court may assess the amount not paid and order it to be paid.

The court heard from three witnesses on Wednesday and they dealt almost entirely with Cayman Flooring and Kitchen Specialists and Mr. Henderson’s role there.

Two of the witnesses said the company had between 15 and 20 employees.

The matter was scheduled to continue yesterday.