On 11 August 2021, a director, Wemba Akobola, and Tshovo Accountancy Services Limited were found guilty of fraudulent trading and misleading advertising.
Over a two year period (Jan 2018 – Dec 2019) the defendants made false representations to applicants for junior trainee accountant jobs by stating, in both online advertising and at job interviews, that there would be a salary of £20,000-£25,000 for the positions . Further false representations were made about the nature of the company. The applicants were also persuaded to part with training fees of between £500 and £1,200. It turned out that there were no paid positions and the applicants were left short of their training fees and with no job. The applicants were mainly young people who were seeking employment in the accountancy world and often left other work for the position. Further false representations were made on the Tshovo website in relation to its size, the nature of its clients, that it could undertake statutory auditing when it could not, and was endorsed by commercial organisations when it was not. This marketing gave rise to the counts alleging breach of the Business Protection from Misleading Advertising Regulations 2008.
Jonathan Goulding and Alison Hollis appeared for the prosecution, City of London Corporation Trading Standards, in the 4-week trial at Prospero House (the ‘Nightingale Court’ at Southwark Crown Court). The trial concluded on 11 August 2021 with convictions on an offence of fraudulent trading and two offences under the Business Protection from Misleading Advertising Regulations 2008.
Sentencing will take place on 24 September 2021.