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Friday, 30 July 2010

BNP faces fines for third accounts failure (UK)

The British National Party has failed to submit its 2009 accounts to the Electoral Commission, the third time the fascist party has been late.

The Electoral Commission said today: “The British National Party and the party’s Regional Accounting Unit were both granted an extension to the deadline for submitting their statements of accounts. Both have failed to deliver their accounts within the extended deadline so the party will be fined a minimum of £500 and the accounting unit will be fined a minimum £100, this figure will increase if the accounts are more than three months late.”

The 2008 accounts, which were submitted nearly six months late, remain under investigation by the Electoral Commission because the auditors reported that they did not give a true and fair view and did not “comply with the requirements of the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 as adequate records have not been made available”.

At the time, Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, described the accounts as “inadequate”. In his introduction to the 2008 accounts Griffin claimed that “the task of maintaining central office accounts had become too big for any one individual”. However, he continued, the problem had now been solved because the job had been “outsourced” to “an independent Chartered Accountant and Accounts Technician with the aim of presenting acceptable accounts for the accounting year 2009”.

The independent chartered accountant was John Thompson, a close business associate of Jim Dowson, the man whose web of financial links with the BNP is such that he in effect “owns” the BNP.

The failure to submit accounts will add to Dowson’s unpopularity with many BNP members and plays into the hands of Eddy Butler, who is currently trying to collect enough nominations to challenge Griffin for the party leadership. Butler’s response was: “Nick Griffin has brought disgrace upon the BNP yet again. There is only one way that you can change this. Sign the nomination form and vote for change.”

That the accounts have not appeared was no surprise to Searchlight. Given the BNP’s huge liabilities as a result of Griffin’s long list of reckless legal actions, the party’s independent auditors are likely to have had difficulty certifying that the BNP is a “going concern”.

In recent years, although the party has been insolvent, the auditors have assumed it can meet its liabilities by raiding the funds of its groups and branches, something with which many local officers are unhappy. Now, the liabilities are so big that branch funds are not enough, and many branch treasurers have adopted measures to keep head office’s hands off their money.

An organisation that is not a “going concern” cannot operate unless it pays for all goods and services in advance, something the BNP does not have the money to do.

Many party members are beginning to realise that although Dowson has raised unprecedented sums in donations, Griffin has been spending far more on madnesses such as using an image of Marmite on a BNP election broadcast, which attracted an injunction from Unilever, defending indefensible unfair dismissal claims from former employees and dragging out his response to the Equality Commission’s action over the party’s racist constitution to the extent that the legal costs are believed to be running at £300,000 so far.

Another problem the auditors might have had is that the party apparently no longer owns any of its assets. One of the sections of the new BNP constitution that Griffin slipped in without telling anyone states that all the party’s assets belong to the so-called Founders’ Association. That body is not defined in the constitution but it is understood to be all BNP members who joined before the new constitution came into effect in February and are still members. If the party does not own its assets, they cannot correctly be included in its accounts, which would greatly increase the party’s insolvency.

The BNP, however, is hoping its members will keep their heads firmly in the sand. The day before it emerged that the party’s accounts were missing, Dave Hannam, the party treasurer, sent out an email listing all the party’s financial achievements but admitting that he had been forced to implement new stringent financial controls and submit to monthly inspection of his “treasury office” by “an outside accountant”.

According to Hannam the party lacked “financial stability”. One reason was: “the large number of court cases launched at this party in a deliberate attempt to derail us,” skating over the fact that almost all the legal costs were entirely the fault of the BNP. Another reason was “a general lack of accountability with regards to the National Treasurer and his office”. And it had been “discovered that some officials has incurred expenditure that was both unauthorised and previously unknown to the Treasury department”.

In other words, Hannam had been as incompetent as most people, other than Griffin, Dowson and their sycophants, always knew he was from the time he first became the party’s deputy treasurer.

The email said nothing about the 2009 accounts being late, appealed for new regional treasurers – in other words new people Hannam can blame the next time it all goes wrong – and ended with a “donate” button, in the hope that the party’s stupid supporters will throw more money into Griffin’s bottomless pit.

Hope Not Hate