Wednesday July 06, 2022

JIT law firm is ‘one man show’

July 19, 2017

LONDON: Head of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Wajid Zia has said that he chose to hire services of his cousin Akhtar Raja because of his professionalism and the repute of his company but an investigation shows that Akhtar Raja’s Quist Solicitors is only a one-man show and accounts of the law firm look in poor shape. 

It has been alleged that Wajid Zia favoured his cousin Akhtar Riaz Raja by giving him work in the UK while hiding the fact that his cousin’s law firm has been making losses and never carried out any financial and forensic investigation but an investigation shows that Akhtar Raja has worked on a few big cases such as the case of radical cleric Abu Hamza and his extradition to USA but he is not known for any major cases or any high profile forensic or investigative work.

Wajid Zia says that Akhtar Raja gave 35% discount to JIT but he has not revealed the exact amount he paid to his cousin and it’s not know on what basis he gave a sensitive case to his cousin, of all the law firms. 

At least two close family members of Akhtar Raja have confirmed that Akhtar Raja’s wife, who lives with him in London area called Hampstead Suburbs, is affiliated with a political party in the Panama case while Akhtar Raja has been involved in arranging tour of a Islamabad-Rawalpindi religious scholar, who follows sufiism, to UK in recent past. 

The relative said that Akhtar Raja and wife deactivated their facebook accounts recently fearing that their pictures at political events will be copied and used by the government of Pakistan. 

Research on Companies House shows that Akhtar Raja made a few companies and either dissolved them for loss making or their accounts were dormant. Evidence shows that Akhtar Raja’s current law firm Quist Solicitors hired by JIT head Wajid Zia, doesn’t operate from the prized Central London address given on its website. When this reporter visited the posh website address of Akhtar Raja’s office at “12th Floor The Broadgate Tower” near Liverpool Street, the building manager said that Quist Solicitors only uses its postcode for receiving correspondence and its landline number is managed by a telephone banks company in Wales. It’s understood that Akhtar Raja most works out of his home and his website confirms that he is the sole practitioner at his law firm along with another registered lawyer and this is confirmed by his law firm’s website. 

Akhtar Raja registered Quist Law Ltd (08450611) on 19 March 2013 using address: 170 Church Road, Mitcham, Surrey, England, CR4 3BW and this company remains active and this was the company used by Wajid Zia. Companies House said yesterday that Akhtar Raja submitted his company’s accounts to the Companies House as dormant made up to 31/03/2016.

But profile on legal regulator Law Society’s website provides information that only single person is working in the firm – which means that this firm is only one man show.

Akhtar Raja registered Quist Human Rights Project Ltd using 170 Church Road, Mitcham, Surrey, England, CR4 3BW but a search shows that 49 companies have been registered on this address.

Record of Companies House shows that Raja submitted his company’s accounts to the Companies House as total small company accounts made up to 30 September 2016. The cash in bank is shown as £7170 but the amount owed to creditors is £8426 which means this company is in loss for £717. 

Akhtar Raja registered a company called ‘2020 VISAS LTD’ using the same address (12th Floor The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, United Kingdom, EC2A 2EW) that is currently being used by Quist Solicitors. His company remained active from 13/08/2012 to 22/03/2016 and then went under compulsory strike-off. He submitted his company’s accounts to the Companies House as dormant made up to 31/08/2014 and following this his company was struck out on March 22, 2016.

JIT has confirmed that Akhtar Raja instructed the laboratory firm that said in its opinion that the Calibri font may not be used in 2006 at the time the deed was signed between Hussain and Maryam Nawaz. 

Our Karachi correspondent adds: A person close to Akhtar Raja while talking to this correspondent rejected all the allegations against the company. He said some elements are engaged in propaganda against Akhtar Raja's company. He said the company has a wide rage of clients.

This company works from the office and not from home. He said the company is engaged in transparent work.