MATTERS ARISING FROM ELC#23 AND BBC RADIO'S 'FILE ON 4'
Immediately below is a summary of Tuesday evening's BBC Radio 4 'File on 4' programme about BNP finances, to be repeated at 5.00pm next Sunday, 17th February.
Below that is the full text of Sonia Gable's (i.e. 'Searchlight's') analysis of the BNP financial methods and situation, which barrister Mr. Davies says conforms very much with his own analysis, i.e. that the BNP is trading insolvently. He adds that whatever else she might be, Gable is a qualified accountant.I think it is unlawful for a commercial firm to trade whilst insolvent. It must be at least the height of irresponsibility and folly for a political party to do so -- at least over a protracted period and as a matter of deliberate policy.
Adrian's opinion is that Nick Griffin is a gambler who is hoping to be able to get himself elected as a Euro-MP at the next round of Euro-elections and that the publicity/income from that would resolve the party's current financial situation.However, he remarks that with the enlargement of the EU and the consequent enlargement of Euro-constituencies, the votes/percentage threshold candidates will need to surpass will be much greater and, unless there is another terrorist attack or some such event a few days before the polling day, Griffin's ambition to get elected to the Euro gravy-train is a gambler's mirage.
My only comment is that Griffin will surely wish to keep the income and expenses he would derive as a Euro-MP to himself.
He must, therefore, be relying on income he hopes would be generated from the publicity he/the BNP would attract in the event of him winning a seat in the EU Parliament -- separate from his EU income -- to solve the party's financial problems. Or perhaps he will simply wave the BNP goodbye and join the Tories.
MATTERS ARISING FROM ELC#23:
There were two errors in my last ELC (#23). One was important and its correction materially advances my case. The other was trivial, but dealing with it may contribute to the discovery of important new knowledge. The important one first:
1) Percentage of BNP Income Spent on Campaigning:I mis-reported Davies as stating that the BNP spent "one-sixth" (or 16.665 per cent) of its total income (nearly £1M) on campaigning. Adrian hastens to assure me that this error constituted a huge OVER-estimate of the amount of BNP members' money that Griffin has spent on promoting the Nationalist cause.As to how the error came about, I can only plead that the person who conveyed (verbally) Adrian's opinion on that point made an error. He should have said "less than 6 PER CENT" -- a vast difference!!
In fact, Adrian says the exact figure is only 5.9 per cent!!!
That is truly shocking. A very much greater portion of BNP members' money is spent on wages for Griffin and his inner circle, entertainment, travel, etc.
Just how much more could have been achieved (even for Griffin's version of "nationalism") if only half the party's total income had been spent on campaigning to advance the nationalist cause.
That, surely, is the purpose on which ordinary members imagine the majority of their money is spent.There would be a scandal if, for example, the Cat's Protection League spent less than 6 per cent of its income on protecting cats.( NWN: Tommy Williams take note)
But with this, as with so many other newsworthy issues bubbling away in the BNP, there has been a strange silence from the mass media.
Please don't tell me that last Tuesday evening's half hour low-key 'File on Four' programme on BBC Radio 4, in which no effort was made to confront Griffin personally concerning his management of the party's finances, constituted intensive media scrutiny.
For more on this aspect of the matter, so the section below headed: "Mark 'Chi-Chi' Cotterill's contribution to 'File on Four'."Those who can hark back to the media feeding-frenzy which was continually directed at the National Front in the 1970s will know what a gentle ride Griffin is getting.
As another example of this gentle ride: what publicity has attended the current chronic in-fighting within the BNP?
Internal party squabbles, talk of splits, litigation, etc., are usually meat-and-drink to the media......
2) Arthur Kemp's Accommodation
In the last ELC I remarked:[Quote]:"I hear Davies has also picked up on is a '£19,000' per year payment to Griffin from party funds for 'rent' for 'accommodation' made available to the BNP at Griffin's pig farm in Wales. (I don't think this 'accommodation' refers to the use which Griffin's ex-South African Police 'Security' spook Arthur Kemp makes of a house on Griffin's farm property, which is in his wife's name.)"[End quote]
This prompted Arthur to leave a message on my mobile phone's voicemail which he bawled so loudly that he needn't have bothered to use a phone at all!
His message was to the effect that the information about himself was untrue. At any rate, Arthur did not deny that he is a member of Griffin's paid security staff. His excessive outrage over so small an error begs the question: why he was so keen for it to be known that he did NOT live in a property on Griffin's pig farm is beyond me.
I asked the opinion of a recently-expelled senior official of the BNP and was told:"Arthur lives rent-free in a property on Dee-side. This is a house which had been bought to accommodate John Walker, BNP Treasurer -- or at least his department -- but Arthur now lives there rent free".My informant went on to assert that:(a) "the house had been purchased with BNP funds"; and(b) "the house is in the name of Griffin's wife".
My informant had no evidence to show that the property had been bought "with BNP funds".The property might well have been paid for from the money (the residue of a £300,000 inheritance from his grandfather in the late 1980s) which Griffin put into his wife's name prior to going bankrupt after a sequence of disastrous property deals.
Griffin has been careful to repose all his assets into his wife's or other family members' names so as to maintain his position as a "man-of-straw". This status deters those who might seek to sue him in the civil courts.
A man without funds or assets cannot pay damages or legal costs.Can any of my readers come up with evidence to support the claim that this Dee-side property was in fact purchased with BNP rather than Griffin family funds?
If this was the way it was purchased, then why is it registered in the name of Griffin's wife?
Is she registered as a trustee of party assets?
Can anybody come up with the exact address of the property, including its Post Code, so that we can lookup its ownership in the Land Registry?
Is it in respect of this Dee-side property that Griffin is making his £19,000 p.a. claim against BNP funds for "accommodation"?
If the property was bought with BNP money (not as yet established), then why would the party pay Griffin rent for it?
Even if the house is "his wife's" property, why would the BNP be screwed for such a high rent on it?
If Arthur is living in that property "rent free", then is that part of the wage he is paid by Griffin for his "security" services?
If so, is this reflected in the BNP's accounts to the Electoral Commission and/or in Arthur's Income Tax returns, as appropriate?
Is the annual charge of £19,000 which Griffin makes on BNP funds inclusive of both the Dee-side house and also the barn on his pig farm which BNP members, using BNP money, renovated and converted into a conference centre?
I reckon this is just one of many loose threads hanging from the Griffin/BNP cardigan which, once playful kittens get a hold of them and start to tug, the garment will unravel to expose what is underneath.
Mark 'Chi-Chi' Cotterill's contribution to 'File on Four'
One of the people who gave interviews to the BBC Radio 'File on Four' programme was Mark 'Chi-Chi' Cotterill.He was the head of the "American Friends of the BNP" organisation which in a three year period from 2000 raised in excess of £100,000 from American patriots keen to see a Nationalist movement in Britain get up a head of steam.Chi-Chi told 'File on Four' that the BNP never included in its accounts the income it derived from the AFBNP. That was true.
But Chi-Chi did not explain:
1) Why he, like Griffin, never produced any accounts concerning the income and expenditure of the AFBNP in the USA.
2) Why he solicited assets (other than cash) from American patriots for his/the AFBNP's use which were to be put in his name, not in the name of the AFBNP.
3) Why he never gave receipts to significant AFBNP donors.
4) Why he never announced and recorded the totals of cash collections taken at AFBNP meetings.
5) Why he gave wads of cash to Griffin when Griffin visited the USA (for example, at meetings of the American Renaissance organisation in New York) but never asked Griffin for any receipt for these payments.
6) Why he was not arrested and deported from the USA in irons as an illegal 'over-stayer' engaged in controversial political activities and fund-raising for a foreign power. That was the treatment accorded to Ernst Zündel at about the same time.
Perhaps more to the point, we should ask the why BBC 'File on Four' team not ask him these crucial questions?
They were aware that these were vital matters to raise with Chi-Chi as they had solicited and received from me all relevant back numbers of ELC in which a dealt with these subjects.Whatever Griffin has been up to so far as fund management is concerned since he became BNP Chairman, Chi-Chi was a part-and-parcel of the operation for several years.
'File on Four' will be getting a copy of this ELC 'Extra'. I will publish their response, if I get one, in the next ELC.
THE NEXT ELC
The next ELC will probably be in the format of a "Questions & Answers" feature arising from correspondence and discussions since the publication of ELC#23. This will allow readers to focus on the crucial issues relating to the BNP and to recall various past incidents which created the current messy situation.
Please onwardly circulate this docuemnt to your lists.
Martin Webster[Mobile phone: +44 (0)7932 049019]=======================================
From:To: Martin webster
Subject: New Concerns Over BNP
Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 06:05 GMT BBC News Hear the full story on BBC Radio 4: File On 4 Tuesday 12 February at 2000 GMT, repeated Sunday 17 February at 1700 GMT or online at File on 4 website.
New concerns over BNP finances by Fran Abrams, File On 4
At first glance the Trafalgar Club - with its annual dinner commemorating the famous sea battle - sounds like a heritage society wanting to honour one of Britain's national heroes. For just £15 a month minimum donation, members receive a newsletter and a free ticket to its annual dinner. Men get a tie with "England Expects" - the first two words of Nelson's rallying signal at the battle - emblazoned on it while women receive a personal organiser. The club could be a gathering of naval historical enthusiasts - the reality is different. Those who attend the annual dinner are addressed by Nick Griffin, chairman and leading light of the British National Party.
'Elite fund-raisers' Billed on the party's website as its "elite fund raising group", the club is a channel for well-heeled BNP supporters to give financial aid to the party without having to be listed as an official donor.
The website tells would-be members: "You do not need to be a member of the British National Party to join the Trafalgar Club. "The government currently bans many civil servants from joining the BNP so the Trafalgar Club is a great way of demonstrating your patriotism and making sure you keep your job." It adds: "After many years of running on shoe-string budgets, the BNP has learned how to stretch a pound as far as it will go!"
However, a BBC File On 4 investigation has heard other claims about the party's finances. Former party treasurer John Brayshaw refused to sign off the party's accounts because he claims he was not given the access to all the records he needed to see. In 2005 he wrote to the Electoral Commission, the body which oversees political party finances, saying that he resigned as BNP treasurer.
He alleged a number of irregularities had come to light including missing invoices and receipts from the Trafalgar Club. In his letter, Mr Brayshaw said current party treasurer John Walker and his deputy David Hannam visited his home for a week to complete the accounts. He said he did not help them but claimed he witnessed some unusual activities, namely the shredding of a large number of documents and invoices.
Mr Brayshaw said he was told to burn the shredded documents, but kept them because he felt something improper had taken place. A black bin bag containing the documents has been handed to File On 4. It contains fragments of cheques, train tickets, receipts and invoices. Some of the fragments carry the names of Nick Griffin, his parents and even the Trafalgar Club.
One unshredded item is a petrol receipt with the name Excalibur - the title of the party's merchandising arm.
Under tax regulations all financial records should be kept for six years. The Electoral Commission said it had no reason to believe a breach of the party funding law had taken place.
Current BNP treasurer John Walker dismissed Mr Brayshaw's allegations as pure fantasy. He said Mr Brayshaw had failed to make the books balance and had left the party's accounts in a mess. Mr Walker said the shredded material included material such as "draft accounts that may have errors in dates and things like that. Because you are trying to reconcile the accounts, of course you shred documents."
Confronted by the BBC with some of the shredded material, Mr Walker said they contained working copies of printouts of the BNP accounts and bounced cheques. He added: "What you've got in front of me here is clearly very weak evidence and the BBC is clutching at straws." Among other questions raised by File On 4 are whether the BNP breached party funding rules by not declaring the name of a donor who gave £20,000 to the party.
The rules say all donors who give more than £5,000 should be identified.
When leader Nick Griffin was cleared of race hate charges in November 2006, he claimed the party had just received its largest ever donation. BNP member Sharon Ebanks told the BBC she was personally thanked by a party official for collecting the £20,000 donation via her internet fund-raising. Ms Ebanks told File On 4 that the party informed her the donor's cheque was genuine and he should be made an honorary life member.
The BNP strenuously denies that it has broken any rules. It claims that the cheque in fact bounced and therefore did not need to be declared. Labour MP for Dagenham Jon Cruddas has already raised the issue of BNP finances in Parliament, and presented the Electoral Commission with a 20-page dossier just before Christmas. He said: "What this investigation for File On 4 is identifying is much more significant than any of the charges I was laying before the parliament - namely a systematic series of financial irregularities. "And this cannot be laid to rest without the most thorough of investigations by the Electoral Commission." ====================================================From: printfactory
Subject: Searchlight Jan 2008Searchlight - January 2008BNP
pot calls the kettle black by Sonia Gable
Financial sabotage and breaches of accountancy procedures were among the charges against Kenny Smith when he was expelled from the British National Party and sacked from his post as the party's national administration officer on 9 December.
But it is the BNP itself that is guilty of financial irregularities and has been for many years.The BNP finally published its 2006 accounts days before the fine for their late submission to the Electoral Commission would have doubled to £2,000.
The BNP is now blaming the delay on a failure by "Kenny Smith, to provide receipts for expenditure under his direct control", consisting of £17,000 paid into his account, and bizarrely claims that the auditors refused to sign the accounts until Smith was sacked.
When asked about this allegation Frank Hogarth, a partner in Silver & Co, refused to comment.
Yet on 13 August 2007 the BNP said the reason for the lateness was that 15 local party groups and branches had failed to get their accounts to the party treasurer in time.
The previous month BNP had claimed that the party's separate regional accounts, which cover local party units, were late because the independent auditors were not familiar with European auditing requirements, a highly unlikely position for any firm of auditors.The accounts themselves refer to £14,000 of funds "transferred to the B N Publications account so as to allow the printing department to funding [sic]" and state: "Receipts have been provided for the cash drawn, but no vouchers or accounts have been produced to show how the money was spent".
Yet the B N Publications account, which Smith runs, is not on the balance sheet.
This indicates that it is a separate business outside the party, so why should it have to explain how it spends the fees the BNP pays it for producing the members' bulletin?
The BNP does not ask Dave Hannam, the party's assistant treasurer, how he spend the money the party pays his company, Great White Records, to "buy CDs at commercial rates" and the fees of £9,618 for "sound assistance at venues".
The BNP appears to have pulled the wool over its auditors' eyes over B N Publications, which inspires little confidence in these accounts, for which the auditors had once again "to rely upon assurances and explanations given us by officers of the party".It would be interesting to know what explanations the BNP gave the auditors concerning the printing equipment.
In 2005 the party claimed to have spent £75,000 on printing equipment, but that year's accounts only showed expenditure of £51,671.
In June 2007 when Chris Jackson challenged Nick Griffin for the party leadership, people starting asking why Mark Collett, the director of publicity until his recent demotion, was always late in producing leaflets for the BNP after all the money spent on printing equipment.
The BNP's reply was that the party had bought four high quality digitalduplicators, three folding machines and power guillotine for £70,000 but that after the 2005 general election they were "given to the regions" and no longer kept for head office jobs.
Yet the 2006 accounts show that whatever equipment the party bought in 2005, it still owns.
So was the printing equipment ever in the accounts or was it bought for Collett's own business as some now suspect?
Was it flogged to death and is now worthless, as others claim?
Was the BNP lying in 2005, in 2007 or both?
Another area of continuing concern is payments to staff.
As in previous years, the wages figure is much too low for the number of staff declared, but there is a large sum for "professional fees".Our conclusion, that some party workers were illegally being paid without accounting for tax and national insurance through the PAYE system, wasborne out when Sadie Graham, the expelled group development officer, stated on 22 December that, "for a year I have been contracted by the Party as self-employed so that they can save on paying my tax bill".
There have also been persistent allegations that individuals have been paid in cash to avoid tax and national insurance, especially some members of the party's "security department".
And in August 2000 Griffin admitted to the BNP's Advisory Council that a payment of £1,500 described as reim-bursement of a party printing bill paid by Tony Lecomber, who was then the party's group development officer, was in reality a means of supplementing his income without affecting his state benefits.
The 2006 accounts show a surplus of nearly £19,000 compared to a deficit of nearly £95,000 in 2005, but it was not enough to take the party out of insolvency. A £35,000 surplus of liabilities over assets at 31 December 2006 was financed partly by running up a debt of nearly £22,000 to the regional accounting unit, although this was paid off in January 2007.The amount owed to HM Revenue and Customs for PAYE and value added tax washalf the sum at the start of the year, suggesting that HMRC became less tolerantof the BNP's excessive borrowing from the taxpayer to finance its deficit.
Perhaps surprisingly the party ended the year with £46,000 in the bank, much of which was used to pay off the debt to the regions. A figure of £67,548 on the balance sheet described as "subscriptions in advance" leads one to the conclusion that the BNP made a big effort to get people to pay their 2007 membership fees early.
In other words, much of 2007's membership income has been spent in 2006.
The accounts state that all donations over £5,000 are reported to the Electoral Commission.
That proved not to be the case in 2007 when the BNP's quarterly return of donations for July to September did not include the £5,315 that Steve Johnson, a recent BNP local election candidate, handed personally to Griffin at a London meeting in September.
It was not until mid-December, after Searchlight had exposed the omission, that the BNP corrected the return.That accusations about financial wrongdoings form part of the present dispute in the BNP is not surprising. The BNP has been here before.
John Tyndall, Griffin's predecessor as leader, was questioned in 1999 at a party meeting about the absence of any audited accounts for the entire party's history. His response was that he had burnt 16 years of accounts to protect the identity of the party's funders.
The absence of accounts was an issue in Griffin's successful leadership challenge to Tyndall.
After Griffin took over, it was not long before the new treasurer, Mike Newland, started challenging him over unaccounted payments, something that rapidly turned into a factional dispute.
Newland's persistent questioning eventually led to him being suspended for reasons that included "spreading deliberately misleading and inaccurate accounting records, designed to spread alarm about the party's financial status".
Griffin and Lecomber went on to make a vitriolic attack on Newland and his supporters, accusing them of "sabotage" and "an attempt to destabilise then take over the party by responding to a popular clamour (which they would have created)".
When John Walker took over as treasurer in 2004, he and Hannam went to the home of the former party treasurer John Brayshaw and had various BNP financial documents shredded. The BNP has denied this but Searchlight still has the evidence.These matters formed part of Searchlight's report into financial irregularities in the BNP, which Jon Cruddas MP presented to the House of Commons and sent to the police and Electoral Commission last month.The report also highlighted the BNP's attempts to raise money in the USA through the front organisation Civil Liberty in contravention of UK electoral law.
Before overseas donations were prohibited, the BNP raised money through the American Friends of the BNP, which raised thousands of pounds while operating in breach of the US Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.It is too early to determine how the present dispute will affect the BNP financially.
The rebels have called for supporters to delay paying their party membership fees, most of which fall due on 1 January, although to delay too long would lose them their Voting Member status and with it the right to attend the party's annual conference.
Martin Wingfield, editor of the party's newspaper Voice of Freedom, made a point of telling readers of his blog how busy the party's membership office (run by his wife) was last month, which smacks of nothing so much as wishful thinking. And supporters of the rebels, given an ultimatum to return to the Griffin fold by 24 December, were surprised to receive a tatty BNP fundraising leaflet instead of the expected expulsion letters.
It followed hot on the heals of a six-page appeal for the party's "Building toGrow Project", which presumably had not been very successful. Immediately after Christmas, when few people have much spare cash, is an odd time to appeal for donations - unless one is desperate.
Perhaps too many of the BNP's donors have transferred to the "Family Defence Appeal" set up by the rebels after Graham and Smith lost their party jobs and therefore their income.
The Building to Grow Project appeal mentioned that the party had already "equipped each BNP region with a laptop". After allegations by the rebels that the BNP used Graham's laptop to monitor her communications, potential donors might be concerned about how their money would be used.