Wednesday, March 07, 2007
A councillor who 'pleaded poverty' in court owns a £500,000 Victorian home, the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal.
Coun Hussain Akhtar, who was accused by a judge of 'concocting a story' to avoid hygiene charges at his food shop, has now been heavily criticised by councillors.
The situation emerged after he successfully applied for planning permission to widen the drive at his house in Shear Bank Road, Blackburn.
In November, when he was fined £3,500 with £5,000 costs after admitting two breaches of hygiene regulations, the court was told he was relying on his overdraft.
His solicitor told the court that Akhtar's Food Store, Whalley Range, only made a trading profit of £20,000 and his client, who lived above the premises, was making about £200 a week alongside his £5,000 council allowance.
And the solicitor said unwittingly: "As you will appreciate he is not a wealthy man. At the moment any money he has is generated from his overdraft."
But Land Registry documents show that in June 2003 the Shear Brow councillor and his wife Tahzeem paid £365,000 for the large semi-detached house in a sought-after location within a Conservation Area, with a mortgage from the National Westminster Bank.