By Natasha Gunaratne
Panic and uncertainty crept into the market last week after a 5-page notice published by the Registrar of Companies appeared with names of over 1000 companies that have not re-registered under the new Companies Act warning that they would be struck off the registrar.
Some companies rejected the claims that they hadn't registered. Responding to these concerns, Registrar General D.K. Hettiarachchi admitted that around 200 companies who had submitted their applications for re-registration were erroneously included in the notice. "I admit that there are a few company's names that were published in the notice, because of technical faults, who have in fact made applications," he told The Sunday Times FT. "Certainly, I am going to rectify it and a full list of those companies will be published under a new notice."
AFLAC, an NGO included in last week's list, said it has completed all the forms, submitted the necessary papers through F.J. & G. De Saram and paid the fees, 12 months back last December for re-registration. ICES, another NGO has also said it has submitted its application for re-registration.
McLarens Marketing Ltd and McLarens Hotels Ltd were also among the companies that were erroneously placed in the notice. The two companies said in a statement that they received their registration certificates on 10 March 2008 and 23 January 2008, respectively. The companies said they are unable to apprehend how the Registrar could make such a grave mistake when they have complied with all legal requirements and the Registrar himself has issued a certificate.
Mr. Hettiarachchi said that under section 487 of the Act, every company registered before 3 May 2007, the day when the Act came into effect, had to re-register in a one year period from that date. He added that the Registrar has received about 24,000 applications at the moment but certificates have yet to be issued to most of them with delays cropping up due to a shortage of personnel to handle the processing of the applications. "I created a new unit and recruited employees," he said.
"We have more than 10,000 companies that are registered and have been issued certificates by the Registrar."
Mr. Hettiarachchi added some delays are also created if the Registrar needs clarifications on applications from certain companies. "I am expecting to finish the whole exercise before 31 December 2009." The names of companies who have failed to submit applications for re-registration will be periodically published and those companies will be given six months from the date of publication of the notice to get their applications in.