THE EDITOR: The Attorney General should be thoroughly ashamed of what he has imposed on citizens by way of the Amendment to Companies Act 2019, with its completely unreasonable fines, delay penalties, even imprisonment for transgression of this nonsensical legislation.
If the objective is required by foreign accounting standards, why not do it in the simplest way, with nominal fines after a reasonable grace period? How about a system of auto-reminders in this day and age of completely computerised government systems?
These are forms that must be completed annually to declare a person’s status of beneficial or non-beneficial ownership of shares in a company. AG Al-Rawi may not have realised that the main victims of this form of state bullying are home-owners or landlords who invest their money and provide housing in the country, with no state assistance.
Most housing is developed via a company formed for the purpose of developing and selling land or built land. In each case the development company's ownership passes to the resultant home owners when the last lot or house is sold. These home-owners thus become shareholders in the company and fall prey to this ridiculous act.
Forms to notify shareholders that they must complete the other forms are required.
Then forms to declare that one is a beneficial owner or non-beneficial owner, and it seems that the latter case requires both forms to be completed, which defies comprehension!
Of course all forms must be taken to a commissioner of affidavits, requiring a trip to their office and payment of fees. Then a summary of the forms must be made and submitted to the Company Registrar by some date – or more penalties!
Strangely enough there is no requirement to do this nonsense if your development company formed a company limited by guarantee instead of a company limited by shares.
So obviously it is better not to issue the shares in a development company so there are no shareholders!
Many of these home-owners are elderly and incapable of understanding this confusing legislation. So of course the accountants have a financial field day "helping" them stay out of jail!
There is a far simpler way to achieve the objective by simply modifying the annual return (Form 28) that has been in existence for decades and does not carry such ferocious fines.
Is this how Government seeks to encourage home ownership and the responsibilities that go with it? Don’t you think its time for a change? Having a government that actually listened to citizens and tried to rectify wrongs would be a good start.