Economics Museums United Kingdom

Head of the Royal Armouries suspended over auditing irregularity

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, former deputy commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan, has been in charge since 2009

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley

Lieutenant-General Jonathon Riley, who commanded British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been suspended as master of the Royal Armouries, the UK’s national collection of arms and armour, over an auditing matter. A Royal Armouries statement says that he is “under temporary suspension, pending the outcome of a review of issues raised by our auditors”.

Riley took over as director general of the Royal Armouries and master of the armouries (a post which dates back to the 15th century) in 2009. Before that he had served in the British Army for 36 years, rising to become deputy commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The nature of the auditing issue remains confidential. The 2010-11 armouries accounts do not appear to disclose any problems and they were passed by the government’s auditor general, Amyas Morse, in June 2011. Riley is the formal accounting officer, which means that he holds responsibility for financial and auditing matters.

Riley’s predecessor, Paul Evans, resigned in 2008, pending an internal investigation into “potential irregularities”. The nature of these issues remained confidential and the inquiry was dropped after Evans left.

Andrew Scott, the retired director of the Science Museum Group (which runs London’s Science Museum), has been appointed the interim head of the armouries, while Riley remains suspended. The armouries’ main base is its Leeds museum, but it also has displays at the Tower of London, Fort Nelson in Portsmouth and in Louisville, Kentucky, United States.

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