The British National Party may face prosecution after providing accounts to the Electoral Commission that failed to give a “true and fair view” of its financial circumstances.
The far-Right party, which has already been fined for filing its accounts six months late, must produce further details by Friday. The news comes as figures released by the commission yesterday reveal how the party exaggerated its spending during the European elections, in which it won two seats, including that of Nick Griffin, the party leader.
Mr Griffin has often claimed that the BNP spent more than £500,000 during the campaign. In fact, the party spent much less, £282,843 — only £54,000 more than it did during 2004. Mr Griffin’s claims had raised eyebrows, —particularly because the party had declared less than £25,000 in donations since January 2008.
Simon Darby, the BNP deputy leader, yesterday blamed bureaucracy for the errors and said the party needed to exaggerate because “if we had said we wanted to spend 10p, it wouldn’t do us any good. ... there’s a bit of hyperbole with politics”. He refused to comment further on the discrepancy, saying that it was not a “worthy question”.
The BNP was fined £1,000 for filing its 2008 accounts in December — nearly six months after the original deadline. Even then, the commission concluded that the accounts were inadequate and requested further information.
In his report, which prefaced the accounts, Mr Griffin blamed poor accounting on changes in the party’s treasury department. He said that the accounts had become too big for one person to manage, and had since been outsourced to a chartered accountant. He said the changes were made “with the aim of presenting acceptable accounts for the accounting year 2009”. “We recognise that it is not acceptable to present inadequate accounts,” he wrote.
The independent auditor of the accounts concluded that the party’s financial statements did not “give a true and fair view” of its affairs. Silver & Co wrote: “In our opinion it cannot be said that the accounts comply with the requirements of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as adequate records have not been made available.”
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: “We have reviewed the statement of accounts and have concerns about them. We have written back to the party requesting additional information. Until we have received that information we cannot say what further action will be taken.”
DG adds: You would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.
Other facts that came out of the accounts have already been highlighted on here, but two that deserve further mention concern membership numbers and the extortion of a massive loan from the Regional Accounting Unit - that is, BNP members' hard-earned money, paid over to benefit their local branches and groups.
On the matter of membership, the BNP's own figures for 2007 were 9,784. We all remember the hype about "rocketing membership figures", "hundreds joining", "best year ever" etc., etc. The BNP's figures for 2008 were 9,801 - an increase of just 17!
This begs the question as to how many of the alleged 4,000 apparently wetting themselves as they wait to join the BNP when the membership block is removed will turn out to be real and how many figments of Nick Griffin's fertile imagination.
On the matter of the "loan" made by the BNP's Regional Accounting Unit (RAU) to the central party, it seems that the membership has been well and truly turned over.
One of the most interesting items listed in the RAU's 2007 accounts was an acknowledgement that “During 2007 central office borrowed from the regional accounting unit", borrowings that were to be repaid by monthly standing orders.
The BNP's auditors, Silver and Co., took a dim view of this, saying that at the close of 2007 "... the party owed the Region £42,000 and the reason why this is the case is that it had insufficient funds, which places doubts on the ability of the Party to repay this money.”
These doubts were well founded, and a con had to be worked that would allow the BNP to keep its own branches deprived of their own much needed money. How it was worked came in this glib sentence, which appeared in the RAU's 2008 accounts:
“In 2009 certain costs were incurred on behalf of the Branches, by the Central Office, in connection with the European election. These are to be recharged, and will cover the money due by Central Office to the Branches."
So, "certain costs", unspecified, and "in connection with the European election" - and that cancels the debt owed to the branches on a loan they were never consulted about making?
How many times over did the BNP membership pay for Nick Griffin's Euro-seat? Or did this money really go elsewhere?
The RAU's treasurer (and supposed guardian of the branches' interests) David Hannam and his good friend Nicholas Griffin have some serious questions to answer, and we can but hope that they eventually come to be answered in the proper place, because we are certain sure that the gullible sheeple of the BNP will never have the wits to challenge the parasites who have for so long fed on them with such unalloyed contempt.