Post Office Chief Authorized Confidential Payment to Conceal Incriminating Evidence

Former executive at the Post Office acknowledges that the suffering of subpostmasters could have been prevented if the organization had investigated the reported IT issues instead of paying affected subpostmasters to keep quiet. During the public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon scandal, David Miller, former chief operating officer, admitted approving a payment of £180,000 to conceal problems at a branch in Lancashire. The Post Office had initiated legal action in 2003 against Julie Wolstenholme, the subpostmaster at the Cleveleys branch, due to an unexplained accounting discrepancy. In response, Wolstenholme countersued the Post Office for loss of earnings amounting to approximately £180,000. Prior to the court case, a joint expert IT witness was commissioned, and the final report indicated that there were defects in the Horizon system at the Cleveleys branch. Despite the report’s findings, the Post Office decided to settle with Wolstenholme, attaching a non-disclosure agreement. Miller justified his approval of the payment by explaining that he was standing in for a colleague. He admitted that if the Post Office had investigated the claims of a faulty Horizon system instead of using taxpayer money to cover up the issues, the suffering of subpostmasters in the Horizon scandal could have been avoided.

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