SDT: Rizwan Ahmad
- Application 10832-2011
- Admitted 1997
- Hearings 8 March 2012
- Reasons 4 April 2012
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
The respondent had failed and/or delayed in delivery of an accountant’s report for the six-month period ending 31 March 2010 (due to be delivered on or before 31 May 2010), contrary to rule 35(1) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1998; he had failed to comply with a condition attached to his 2008/2009 practising certificate as regards the filing of half-yearly accountants’ reports, contrary to rule 20.10 of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007; and he had failed to deal in an open, prompt and co-operative way with the SRA, contrary to rule 20.5 of the code.
The SDT considered that it was a serious case. The requirement that solicitors file accountants’ reports with the SRA was a measure which was essential to protect the public. The SDT noted with great concern that the present case was the second against the respondent in a short period in relation to essentially similar breaches. The case heard on 20 April 2010 had related to failure to deliver an accountant’s report for the periods ending 31 March 2008, 31 March and 30 September 2009; further, that the respondent had failed to comply with a condition attached to his 2008/2009 practising certificate, regarding the filing of a half-yearly accountant’s report, and failure to deal in an open, prompt and co-operative way with the SRA.
The SDT noted that on the previous occasion the respondent had attended and had offered mitigation which included assurances to the SDT that he would put matters right and in particular that all the accountants’ reports would be filed. That assurance had been given to the SDT a little over a month before the date the report for the period ending 31 March 2010 was due for delivery. Despite his assurances to the SDT, the respondent had not rectified matters, had not filed the required report and had failed to co-operate with the SRA. The respondent’s lack of engagement with the SRA during the investigation process, and with the SDT and applicant in the course of the present proceedings, together with his failure to file the required accountants’ reports, showed a lack of respect for the norms of the solicitors’ profession.
On the previous occasion, the respondent had been given a stern warning by the SDT, and a financial penalty had been imposed. The respondent had failed to take the necessary steps, even having received that warning. The reasonable and appropriate order to make was that the respondent should be struck off the roll. It was clear to the SDT that he was not prepared to be bound by the regulatory framework which existed for the protection of the public and the maintenance of the reputation of the profession.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,571.