Saturday 18 November 2017

Boss accused of plundering pension cash of 200 employees hands passport to gardai

Colm McNulty
Colm McNulty

Tom Tuite

A COMPANY director is to go on trial in April accused of looting pension fund contributions of almost 200 employees.

Colm McNulty, director of Limestone Construction, Kilreesk Lane, St Margaret's, Dublin, is facing prosecution at Dublin District Court for deducting contributions from workers without paying them into a pension scheme.

The Irish Pensions Board (IPB) took the case when it discovered that his firm had deducted funds totalling €80,000 from his staff which were not remitted to the Construction Workers Pension Scheme.

The government agency has power to investigate the state and conduct of Irish pension schemes, and to ensure that trustees, employers, pension administrators and their advisers comply with the obligations they owe to current and former employees in relation to their pension contributions and benefits.

Mr McNulty is charged with 14 counts under Section 58A(1) of the Pension Acts. It is claimed that as an employer he deducted sums from the wages and salaries of staff from July 2006 until September the following year.

The maximum penalty on conviction in the District Court for each offence, is one year's imprisonment or a fine of €5,000 or both.

In 2008, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest when he did not show up for a court hearing but he has since returned to face his prosecution.

Yesterday (MON) at Dublin District Court, Judge John O'Neill heard that Mr McNulty's bail conditions have been agreed. His passport is in the custody of UK authorities and a European Arrest Warrant has been withdrawn.

Mr McNulty said he is now residing in Kells, Co. Meath and gave an undertaking in court that when his passport is returned to him he will hand it over to gardaí at his local station.

A lawyer for the IPB told Judge O'Neill that a “bundle of documents” was furnished to the defence last Friday as part of disclosure of the prosecution's evidence.

However, Mr McNulty's counsel needed time to go over the material which involves a forensic accountant's report. The defence needed to commission their own report, Judge O'Neill was also told.

The judge said “this matter goes back some time” but agreed to grant the adjournment.

Mr McNulty was remanded on continuing bail and ordered to appear again in seven weeks when he will be expected to tell the court how he will plead to the charges.

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