Questions raised after Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf reveals SNP auditors resigned six months ago
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The SNP stands accused of keeping quiet about the resignation of their accounting firm six months ago, with their new leader admitting to only recently discovering this fact and implying a lack of prior knowledge.
First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf revealed that accounting firm Johnston Carmichael had stopped working for the SNP last October but he could not “comment on what was done prior to me becoming a leader of the SNP”. However, he did not give a reason behind why this had happened.
Yousaf, who was a cabinet minister when former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was leading the party, said that it was “extraordinary” for the party to not have hired another set of auditors after the previous ones quit.
Reports of Johnston Carmichael no longer handling the accounting for the SNP emerged last week just days after Sturgeon’s husband and former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested and questioned by Police Scotland regarding the party’s finances.
£600,000 of party donations meant to be used for independence campaigning are said to be missing and the police have questioned Murrell regarding where the money went, according to reports.
Murrell, who worked for the party for 25 years, resigned from his position when the race to elect a new SNP leader was taking place after Sturgeon announced her shocking resignation in February. He was released without charge “pending further investigation”, the police said.
Yousaf’s claim about the resignation of the auditors has raised even more questions about who knew what about the finances.
MSP Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Conservative leader from 2019 to 2020, tweeted: “Why did they hide it from the membership and the public? All very grubby and murky from the Nats. No wonder auditors resigned.”
Yousaf, who was appointed as the leader of the SNP two weeks ago, has said that it is one of his top priorities to appoint new auditors “quickly”.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said it was “yet another massive understatement” coming from Yousaf.
He said, “The SNP have been without auditors for more than six months while the police investigate serious allegations about £600,000 of funds.”
“The questions for Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf to answer are growing.”