Tuesday, June 25

KPMG is no longer on the Grenfell Tower inquiry



Accounting giant KPMG is no longer advising on the Grenfell Tower inquiry after campaigners said the government’s decision to appoint the firm was a conflict of interest.

The company said on Sunday night that it was stepping away from the investigation as we recognise that strength of opinion about our role risks undermining confidence in the inquiry.

The move comes after an open letter signed by pop star Lily Allen as well as academics, writers, politicians and campaign groups urged prime minister Theresa May to drop the company from the probe.

They argued that KPMG should not be involved in the process given it is an auditor to Celotex, which made the insulation in the building, Rydon Group, the contractor that refurbished it, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where the tower is based.

Government must recognise that appointing advisors so closely associated with firms under inquiry can only further fuel rumours of a deliberate cover-up and erode public trust, the letter read.

It also claimed that the Big Four accountant’s reputation had already been tarnished by its work with HBOS just before it collapsed and was taken over by Lloyds during the financial crisis as well as the more recent  Gupta family scandal in South Africa.

Spokespeople for KPMG and the Grenfell inquiry said the firm was hired into a project management role, so was not actively involved in the investigation. KPMG has said it will waive its fees for work carried out so far.

The company has had no role in the inquiry’s investigations or decision-making processes and its contract contained strict confidentiality clauses to ensure that there could be no conflicts of interest, a spokesperson for the Grenfell inquiry said.

Following concerns expressed by some core participants, the inquiry team has discussed the contract with KPMG which has agreed that its work should now cease.

The Grenfell Tower fire killed 71 people on June 14 last year. The public inquiry is being led by retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick.