Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Lochaber Highland Estates Not For Profit Statement

Up until sometime last week Lochaber Highland Estates, run be the same people as Highland Titles Glencoe Estates were claiming on their website to be a not for profit company. Not for profit companies in the Channel Islands which includes Alderney where they are based, are required
by law to be registered as not for profit if that is what they are.

Lochaber Highland Estates are not registered as a not for profit company in the Channel Islands, the document listing properly registered companies is available here, Lochaber Highland Estates are not on it.  If they are a not for profit company they may have been breaking the law, namely the Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey) Law, 2008. Details can be seen here and here.

I sent an enquiry to Guernsey Trading Standards enquiring about Lochaber Highland Estates regarding their not for profit status. At first there was no reply at all, then after a further enquiry I received the following email.

"The Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey) Law, 2008 is administered by the Office of the Registrar of Non Profit Organisations.  I have tried to contact the Registrar but he is not in the office until the 4th September, unfortunately Trading Standards has no powers under this law and we cannot take any action.  I will make sure that your complaint is passed to the Registrar as soon as he is available."
While I was waiting for this reply from Guernsey Trading Standards, I found an email address for the Registrar (, and sent an email to it, I have never received a reply to that email or any acknowledgement that it was ever received. Lesley Smith of Trading Standards kindly forward my enquiry to the Registrar, here is the reply I received from Mr Ricky Guilmoto of the Guernsey Tax department.
"Thank you for your e-mail, which you will see was forwarded on to me yesterday afternoon by Lesley Smith.

I am sorry but I cannot confirm whether the company has complied with the Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey) Law, 2008 nor outline to you what action may be taken. However, I can assure you I will look into your complaint and take whatever steps are necessary.

I realise you had asked for more information but I’m sure you can appreciate why I cannot go into any more detail. 
Ricky Guilmoto
Income Tax Inspector" 
 Shortly after I received this email the not for profit claim "We are proud to be a not-for-profit organisation", was removed from the Lochaber Highland Estates website and was replaced by "We are proud to be a Limited Company".

There are a couple of things that puzzle me, if Guernsey Trading Standards have no powers to investigate a company which may be acting illegally, what do they actually do, and what powers do they have? Also I find it strange that the Registrar is unable to disclose whether a company does or does not comply with the regulations when it is a matter of public record and something I was able to find out for myself anyway by searching for and finding the relevant document freely available on the Internet.

I have made further enquiries to clarify why the information is not available, and whether any action taken can be disclosed after any investigation has been concluded, but have as yet not received a reply.

Lochber Highland Estates have definitely been claiming to be a not for profit company while not being so registered as required under the Charities and Non Profit Organisations (Registration) (Guernsey) Law, 2008.

If they are not and never have been a not for profit company they should never have been claiming this status, so doing is dishonest. This gives an impression to members of the public that they comply with the regulations required, and that their accounts are subject to proper examination and availability, when this is not the case.

This is yet another example of the dishonest practises used by the people that run these companies to try to legitimise their scams, and give an impression of respectability to their dubious conservation claims. Remember, it is the same people that are behind both Lochaber Highland Estates and Highland Titles Glencoe Estates.

Also remember that it is supposedly a professor, a barrister, and a qualified accountant that run these companies, so I'd think it can hardly be in error that they made this not for profit status claim.

I have a lot more evidence suggesting dishonest and unethical business practices by several souvenir plot / title vendors which I have not published.. If you are a bona fide journalist or Government department with an interest in investigating this business and would like access to that evidence, please get in touch with me by using the email address on the right or sending me a comment marked "confidential", I will not publish comments so marked

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