• Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Business

Small UK firm PKF Littlejohn is Boohoo’s new auditor

FILE PHOTO:Boohoo founder Mahmud Kamani (Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images).

By: Pramod Thomas

THE online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed small UK firm PKF Littlejohn as its new auditor with immediate effect.

Their former auditor PwC had quit over accusations that workers’ health and rights had been put at risk and some were underpaid.

Boohoo’s billionaire co-founder Mahmud Kamani has announced the appointment.

Following the news, some analysts raised concerns that Boohoo, which has a valuation of £4 billion, had not secured the services of one of the UK’s larger accountancy firms. PKF Littlejohn is the UK’s seventh largest by number of stock market clients.

The ‘big four’ firm PwC had signed off on the retailer’s accounts for the past seven years, but cut its ties in October after an independent report uncovered dangerous working conditions and the underpayment of staff.

The independent review, conducted by Alison Levitt QC, criticised what it said were “weak corporate governance” at Boohoo and “serious issues” in the company’s supply chain.

An an investigation by the Guardian revealed that factories in Leicester were putting workers’ health at risk during the first lockdown and failing to pay them the minimum wage.

The Levitt’s review, following the report, found the allegations of poor working practices were “substantially true”.

“Boohoo has not felt any real sense of responsibility for the factory workers in Leicester and the reason is a very human one: it is because they are largely invisible to them,” Levitt said in the review.

Boohoo said last week it had exited deals with 64 garment factories after it found some clothing suppliers in Leicester were paying workers less than the minimum wage.

Recently, Kamani told MPs that the firm did not previously have the “right oversight and structures in place as it was growing between 50 per cent and 100 per cent year on year.

Boohoo has promised a series of reforms, including a move to publish a full list of companies in its supply chain, reducing the number of factories it relies on and using new, ethical suppliers.

The company has also faced controversy over an executive pay plan that would hand bosses £150m in shares if the price rises by two-thirds over the next three years. Kamani and his co-founder, Carol Kane, would each receive £50m.

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