A director of an accountancy firm has been sentenced after he interviewed candidates and offered them positions which did not exist. 

A Court heard how the director of a London-based accountancy firm invited job applicants to interview in prestigious locations such as Canary Wharf and the City between 2018 and 2019, despite offering no paid positions.

Before being accepted for the role, candidates were informed they would be required to pay a training fee of between £500 and £1,200.

Despite this funding, training was found to be “unstructured and of poor quality” and salaries, of between £20,000 and £25,000, which were agreed at interview stage never transpired.

Furthermore, those who were accepted into roles were expected to find their own clients before being paid by the company.

The firm was also accused of making false representations regarding the nature of the company, including its size, the nature of its clients, the type of work it could legally carry out and making claims of being endorsed by commercial organisations when it was not.

The Government website stipulates that companies must not advertise a job without the full details of the position including stating whether the job is temporary or permanent and providing details about the nature of the role.

The prosecutor, Gough Square Chambers, stated that the applicants were “mainly young people who were seeking employment in the accountancy world and often left other work for the position”.

It further went on to explain how the candidates were ultimately left short of training fees as well as being left without a job.

Wemba Akobola, the former Director of Tshovo Accountancy Services Limited, was found to be responsible for advertising these false positions and interviewing candidates.

As such, he faced a suspended sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment as well as being ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. Mr. Akobola was also banned from being a director for five years.

The chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Port Health and Environmental Services Committee, Keith Bottomley, stated:

This case underlines our commitment to protecting vulnerable people from fraudulent businesses, and my colleagues and I are pleased that justice has been served.