A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing following the 2009 collapse of Midlands conveyancing firm Wolstenholmes has ordered two solicitors to be struck off the roll.
Imran Hussain and Asma Qayum were also ordered to pay costs of £137,230 and £91,900 respectively. The two had denied acting with a lack of integrity.
Three other lawyers were disciplined following the two-week hearing. Helen Murgatroyd was suspended for two years and ordered to pay costs of £34,900.
Bilal Khawaja was suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £53,100. Bobby Shabbir was suspended for six months and ordered to pay costs of £34,900.
The tribunal heard that Wolstenholmes had been a ‘conventional Midlands firm’ until 2006 when it began a period of expansion, based on internet marketing.
Timothy Dutton QC for the SRA told the hearing that there had been ‘a total loss of control’ of accounting. ‘I would categorise what took place as chaos.’
When regulators intervened in December 2009 they found computers had been ‘wiped clean’… ‘not only had the information disappeared but computers were missing their hard drives,’ Dutton told the hearing.
A hearing into allegations against Nasser Ilyas, a former partner at Wolstenholmes, was severed owing to ill-health. The tribunal said it will be heard at a later date.