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?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?