Rushan Ahmed of Walsall, West Midlands, was the sole director of the company Four Brothers (Derby) and ran Moza Derby, an Indian restaurant on Nottingham Road in Derby.
Following a visit from Derby City Council food safety inspectors in February 2015, the venue was given a food hygiene rating of one out of a maximum of five. This score was amended to zero in July 2015 because the council said no action was taken to put things right.
Despite the rating awarded, in the same year, Ahmed placed three adverts in a local magazine, C & C of Oakwood, where he highlighted the venue had a five-star food-hygiene rating.
This resulted in the council’s trading standards team taking Four Brothers to court in April 2016, where Ahmed pleaded guilty to the charge that the company engaged in unfair commercial practices.
The company was fined £3,171, while 31-year-old Ahmed also received a personal fine of £1,271, but the restaurant then ceased trading in September 2016.
After the main company – Four Brothers – closed down, the Insolvency Service looked into the conduct of Ahmed.
On 28 June 2018, a disqualification order was made by district judge John Preston Musgrave at Birmingham City Court against Ahmed for five years.
The judge also ordered Ahmed pay costs of £4,231.62 and effective from 19 July 2018, Ahmed cannot directly or indirectly be involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Derby council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration and public protection Matthew Holmes said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme serves two important purposes.
“The first is to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving information about hygiene standards in pubs, restaurants, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
“The second is to encourage businesses to work hard to improve hygiene standards and promote greater food safety."
Warning to others
He added: “This case shows that we will take action to protect consumers and the integrity of the scheme where businesses seek to gain an unfair advantage by misleadingly claiming a higher rating.”
Ahmed’s ban should serve as a warning to other operators, according to Dave Elliott of the Insolvency Service.
He said: “A zero food-hygiene rating should have rung alarm bells for Ahmed and forced him to get his house in order.
“But he decided to publish a bogus five-star hygiene rating, designed to draw in business by making a false representation for commercial gain.
“This ban should serve as a warning to other directors tempted to engage in unfair commercial practices and if you abuse your duties, you could be investigated by the Insolvency Service and lose the privilege of being a company director.”
The Morning Advertiser attempted to contact Rushan Ahmed but had not received a response at the time of publication.