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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The infrastructure, support services and const...

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border