Audit concludes Archer made up charity total

More than half the £57m Lord Archer claims he raised for the Kurds in his 1991 Simple Truth appeal appears to have been a figment of his imagination, an investigation into the charitable campaign has concluded.

The British Red Cross said on Friday that an independent audit of the cash showed no donations were handled by Archer and any misappropriation was "unlikely". But KPMG, the accountancy firm that ran the investigation, said it could find no evidence to support Archer's claims to have raised £31.5m from overseas governments.

When investigators met the former chairman of the Conservative Party at Wayland jail in Norfolk in July, he was unable to give them details of the sources of the £31.5m.

Questions were first raised over the Simple Truth appeal in July by the Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson. Within days of Archer being jailed for perjury, she wrote to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police alleging that "hardly any" of the money raised by Archer, who was fronting a British Red Cross campaign, actually reached the persecuted Iraqi Kurds for whom it was intended.

After the KPMG investigation cleared Archer and the British Red Cross of misappropriation, Archer's wife, Mary, said: "My family and I are delighted, but not surprised, that KPMG's investigation into the Simple Truth campaign, spearheaded by Jeffrey in 1991, has confirmed that no funds were misappropriated by him or anyone else. We have known this from the outset."

The accountants are unequivocal in their satisfaction that the British Red Cross and Archer can account for every penny paid in the UK.

"KPMG have no concerns as to the accuracy of the figure of £13.8 million raised by the British Red Cross Simple Truth Appeal in the UK," their report says. "The donation handling procedures appear to have been sound and ... the figures tie in to the 1991 audited accounts and underlying accounting records."

The report adds: "Archer had no role to play in collection of funds by the British Red Cross; he had no signing powers or any role in cash or funds handling at the concert and no role in deciding the distribution of the funds. Archer incurred personal costs for which he received no refund, and he gave a personal guarantee for $200,000 to underwrite the concert should it not have covered its costs.

"KPMG have found no evidence of misappropriation and consider it highly unlikely."

Overseas, however, Archer's claims of the amount raised remain unclear. The Simple Truth claim was that £11.7m had been raised from public and corporate sources and £31.5m from overseas governments. By contacting foreign Red Cross societies, KPMG managed to account for £10m of the £11.7m claim, but when it came to the £31.5m it said: "KPMG have been unable to verify the figure of £31.5m and have seen no analysis of the build-up of this figure or contemporaneous supporting documentation. It appears that the British Red Cross substantially relied upon Archer to provide the figure ... when KPMG met Archer in September 2001 he was unable to recall the breakdown of the £31.5m.

Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: "I am pleased that KPMG has found no evidence of misappropriation. With regard to the funds raised and disbursed overseas, the KPMG report helpfully explains which figures were not sufficiently documented and which were not presented with sufficient clarity."

Lady Nicholson declined comment until she had studied the report fully. The Metropolitan Police said it would launch a "preliminary assessment of the facts" from the KPMG audit but was not investigating the Simple Truth fund.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?