Fury over Post Office ‘whitewash’: Victims feat probe into postmasters IT scandal will be toothless
- It said the probe ‘has no teeth’ and its scope must change to deliver justice
- Government urged to give inquiry powers to compel witnesses to be questioned
- Post Office chairman Tim Parker recently apologised for ‘historical failings’
An inquiry into the postmasters IT scandal risks becoming a whitewash, Labour warned last night.
It said the probe ‘has no teeth’ and its scope must change to deliver justice.
The Government is being urged to give the inquiry powers to compel witnesses to be questioned and to demand documents.
An inquiry into the postmasters IT scandal risks becoming a whitewash, Labour warned last night saying it ‘has no teeth’
Hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting after the Horizon IT system was introduced to Post Office branches in 1999.
Post Office chairman Tim Parker recently apologised for ‘historical failings’ and said reforms will stop such events happening again.
But Labour, in a letter to business minister Paul Scully, has warned the inquiry has no teeth.
It wants ministers to give the inquiry the right to demand documents, including emails from the Post Office, the Business Department and Fujitsu, the firm that developed Horizon.
The party believes that, as it stands, it will be ‘impossible to truly uncover how the scandal happened’.
Labour has also criticised rules that mean inquiry judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams cannot consider compensation for those affected.
Post Office chairman Tim Parker (pictured with chief executive Paula Vennells) recently apologised for ‘historical failings’ and said reforms will stop such events happening again
Business spokesman Chi Onwurah said: ‘Any inquiry worth its salt must get to the bottom of what happened, identify who was responsible, and make recommendations to ensure the injustice was put right.’
In a historic victory this month, 44 postmasters were told their convictions are set to be overturned in the Court of Appeal.
The Daily Mail’s campaign to save village post offices has repeatedly highlighted the IT scandal.
NHS probe for ex-boss
Former Post Office boss Paula Vennells faces a fresh investigation by the NHS trust she leads, insiders have confirmed.
Mrs Vennells, 61, is accused of covering up the Post Office IT scandal and dragging hundreds of postmasters into a costly court battle.
Last night, pressure mounted on her to give up her job at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. The probe will consider if she is ‘suitable’ to act as chairman in light of the scandal.
Labour MP Karl Turner said: ‘We mustn’t rush to judgment… but I cannot see how she cannot be sacked.’
Mrs Vennells was contacted for comment.
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