It appears this is an mIRC problem, it will start returning text up only when it reaches its first letter/numerical character and there after.
I tested this, it can be solved by adding "$chr(32) $+" after the item.
(eg. ban=$chr(32) $+ <control codes> test here etc)
For me, it returned the propper line when I added that. I also noticed that mIRC _will_not_ write control characters to an INI file even when evaluted with /. maybe a "plain text" flag should be added to the /writeini command?