The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has struck off an architect from London convicted of possessing criminal property, including more than £200,000-worth of banknotes found in a holdall
Earlier this month the board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) erased Sheik Muhammad Khalimullah Maudarbocus from the register for the severity of the offence and for participating in organised crime ‘in a significant way’. The committee added that Maudarbocus would be prevented from reapplying for registration for seven years.
In December 2016 Maudarbocus was found guilty of possessing criminal property and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. His father was also convicted in relation to the charges.
Maudarbocus was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of the proceeds of crime or of money laundering after being found with more than £200,000 in cash in a holdall. He had a further £30,000 in cash at home together with machines for checking and counting banknotes.
His explanation as to the source of the money had varied over time, the PCC heard.
The ARB noted that the judge, in his sentencing remarks at the criminal trial, had said this was not an isolated episode but a course of conduct.
The committee held ‘that to participate in organised crime in a significant way, and offer a defence which displayed a lack of integrity and dishonesty, was fundamentally incompatible with remaining a member of the profession.’
At his criminal trial, Maudarbocus, who studied at London South Bank University, attempted to defend himself by claiming that he ‘was a loyal son to his father and was simply doing his father’s bidding, innocently under-declaring cash which was to be carried abroad, and [had] no suspicion that the money might be associated with criminal activity’.
On the third day of the trial, his father pleaded guilty to the offences and subsequently Maudarbocus was found guilty too.
The PCC dismissed similar claims made by Maudarbocus in his bid to avoid being struck off at the ARB hearing.
The committee said: ‘The mitigation offered, that the respondent is a young man, is not persuasive. First, he was aged nearly 30 at the time. This is old enough to have a fully developed sense of right and wrong. Secondly, his age does not reduce his culpability for the crime.
‘The offence was not a victimless crime. The money was the proceeds of crime, so that it came from victims. This was a large amount of money. It was one of a series, and so it was a course of conduct in which it is clear that it was accepted that towards £1 million was involved, and possibly as much as £4 million.
‘This was not a one-off and unpremeditated error of judgement done on the spur of the moment, but a considered course of action undertaken for considerable gain. The sentencing judge was entirely clear that this was not an isolated episode. This was a course of conduct.’
The committee added: ‘This is, in the judgement of the PCC, behaviour that is fundamentally incompatible with remaining a member of the profession.’
Read the full judgment here.