Leading members of Bradford’s legal profession and judiciary have rallied behind beleaguered former Bradford charity boss Anjum Tahirkheli.
Messages of support have poured in for the 46-year-old mum-of-four since the Telegraph & Argus last week revealed details of her dismissal by Bradford law firm Khan’s Solicitors.
An employment tribunal ruled Khan’s had unfarily dismissed her by failing to follow a fair procedure in doing so, but it decided she was not entitled to any compensation for loss of earnings as she had been the “author of her own downfall”.
Judge Susan Cox said the tribunal was satisfied Khan’s had reasonable grounds to believe she was guilty of misconduct, after hearing evidence from a director of the firm, Rashid Majid, about allegations of unauthorised financial transactions, including payments abroad from the firm’s account which the tribunal found was more likely to be related to her overseas work with her charity.
Mrs Tahirkheli, of Ilkley, a trustee and formerly chief executive of Bradford-based charity Basic Human Rights, has denied any wrongdoing.
She is appealing the tribunal’s judgement, and has challenged Khan’s to call in police to investigate to clear her name.
Yesterday, Tahir Khan QC, a top Bradford barrister and part-time judge, said Anjum Tahirkheli had been a friend for many years and was a person of integrity.
Mr Khan said: “I have known her for at least 20 years, as a friend and in the legal profession, and I refute any suggestion that she is dishonest because the Anjum that I know is a person of decency and integrity who is only concerned about doing good works.
"She is entirely selfless and has been responsible for amazing charitable works, putting herself in danger, and raising money and awareness of injustice around the world.”
Mohammed Ayub, senior partner with Bradford law firm, Chambers Solicitors, said: “I have known her for at least ten years, professionally and through her charity, and she has always been very professional and capable, particularly with her relentless work for her charity.
“We should take note of the fact that the tribunal found she was unfairly dismissed.”
Dr Yasmin Sheikh, founder and chairman of the British Community Honours Award charity, said Mrs Tahirkheli has been nominated for an award, previously won by celebrities Esther Rantzen and Joanna Lumley, for promoting integrity and social cohesion among diverse communities
. Dr Sheikh said: “As a human rights campaigner she has put Bradford on the world map. I am very proud of her.”
A senior spokesman for Khan's has said an independent forensic accountant was going through the firm's books and on completion of that report it would consider reporting the matter to police.