LSE admits 'failings' on Libya cash

 

The head of the London School of Economics (LSE) today said a report criticising its acceptance of a £1.5 million donation from Libya showed "failings in our governance and management".

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's most high-profile son, Saif al-Islam, studied at the school from 2002 until 2008, gaining a doctorate.

In 2009 the LSE received £300,000 from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (GICDF), prompting protests from students and widespread criticism.

The payment was the first of a proposed five donations totalling £1.5 million, but the others were never received.

In March this year Sir Howard Davies resigned from his post of director at the LSE over the university's links to the Gaddafi family.

A comprehensive report by Lord Woolf into the scandal was published today, and found "the links which the LSE developed with Libya have clearly brought to light shortcomings in communication and governance within the LSE".

Professor Judith Rees, director of LSE, said: "It's a fairly forensic exercise.

"Obviously it's very hard hitting, it's very detailed, and it does show that there were clear mistakes made, and failings in our governance and management.

"It's sad, and certainly very painful reading for someone like me who has spent most of their career at the school."

Lord Woolf's report said: "Mistakes and errors of judgment were made and they contributed to the damage caused to the LSE's reputation.

"Some were individual errors that no system can prevent from occurring from time to time.

"Here, however, the mistakes and errors of judgment go beyond those that could be expected from an institute of the LSE's distinction."

The inquiry set out a number of failings, but criticised the school's management and the lack of an all-embracing code of ethics.

"The LSE is behind the standard of many global companies," he wrote.

"It falls down on the first hurdle for not having an embedded ethics code, adopted by the institution, which sets out clearly the values, principles and procedures with which everyone associated with the school ought to comply."

The report praised the Philosophy Department for not prejudicing al-Islam because of his father, but said it had an "element of idealism" because in educating him it considered it was doing "a great deal of good".

Of the donation, Lord Woolf found: "If what the LSE was told by Saif about the source of the donation is taken at face value, the due diligence obtained on the gift should have raised real concerns.

"On the available information the source of the donation could have been payments made to gain Saif's favour."

Al-Islam's PhD was shrouded in controversy before the donation scandal, even prompting the British ambassador to the US to deny claims he helped the dictator's son with his thesis.

At the time the Foreign Office confirmed that Sir Nigel Sheinwald met him during his time at the LSE but said he did not play any part in the writing of his thesis.

Lord Woolf said after the publication of his report: "I am pleased that the findings from my inquiry into the relationship between the LSE and Saif Gaddafi have now been published.

"Initial indications are that the LSE is taking the necessary steps to address the weaknesses exposed in its structures of governance.

"The recommendations I have made may have resonance for other universities dealing with donations and gifts.

"I hope that by implementing these recommendations, the LSE is able to move on from what has been a very difficult period."

Alex Peters-Day, general secretary of LSE Students' Union, said: "The report's findings clearly lay-out severe problems in the way LSE has conducted itself.

"LSE took a gamble with it's dealings with Saif Gaddafi, and the stakes were too high.

"The theme running through the report is one where, if there had been more scrutiny, more transparency and more student involvement, many of the issues surrounding the donation may well have been prevented.

"We hope the report signals a new era for meaningful student involvement in the school's decision-making, so that decisions made can never tarnish the integrity of the institution again."

PA

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
  • Get to the point
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: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions