Making a false statement to obtain a PSV O-Licence has led to its restricted O-Licence being revoked by Birmingham-based Kelly’s Nationwide Cars 18 days after it was granted by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton.
The company had been immediately called back before the TC when the situation became apparent.
The TC said that at a Public Inquiry (PI) held on 6 September to consider the company’s application for a new restricted O-Licence, he was made aware that it had already been in possession of a PSV for 18 months.
Director Haseeb Khan assured the TC that the vehicle had been “sitting there gathering dust.” Pressed to say whether it had moved at all, Mr Khan had said that the vehicle’s movements had been minimal, a few six-mile round trips to the maintenance contractor’s premises.
The TC had granted the licence on the basis that that information was correct.
Subsequently, a report from the vehicle’s tachograph unit which the TC had asked to be forwarded to him showed that the vehicle had travelled 5,166km between 3 June and 25 August.
In a covering letter, Mr Khan explained that the vehicle had been used unbeknownst to him “privately by family and friends”, explaining that he was a sibling in a large extended family.
Mr Khan said that his brother Tasleeb Khan had, without his knowledge, been allowing others to drive the vehicle, although no money had changed hands. Two witnesses gave evidence to the effect that Tasleeb Khan had allowed them to use the vehicle to transport family and friends.
One of the witnesses was not related to Haseeb Khan. He explained that by “family and friends”, he had also been including the family and friends of that particular witness.
The TC said that he found that to be a disingenuous interpretation of Mr Khan’s earlier letter. The two witnesses presented some evidence in the form of wedding and birthday invitations to support their accounts that they had been driving their relatives to family occasions.
However, the evidence did not always tally with the times that tachograph reports showed that the vehicle had been driven. Both witnesses claimed that they had been insured on their own policies to drive the minibus, although neither was able to produce documentary evidence.
Haseeb Khan produced evidence of maintenance to account for some of the journeys. The TC found that unconvincing, as it appeared to be a photocopy of a photocopy and was a description of the labour supposedly carried out, rather than a proper invoice.
Revoking the licence, the TC said that he was not persuaded by the evidence that the vehicle had only been used privately for carrying family and friends. The journeys, including trips to airports and tourist destinations, were entirely consistent with the kind of private hire journeys that were typical of minibus PSV work.
If he had been told the truth at the PI in September – that the vehicle which had supposedly been parked had in fact covered 5,166km in less than three months – he would not have granted the application.
The TC considered it highly unlikely that Haseeb Khan was unaware that the minibus was being used. Even if he was unaware, Mr Khan exhibited a high degree of negligence in failing to ensure that a PCV that was not licensed to operate, and which was supposedly off the road, remained out of use.