Post Office boss underneath investigation as high brass squabble over compensation and blame | EUROtoday

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The disarray on the high of the Post Office has been laid naked because it emerged boss Nick Read is underneath investigation by the agency and senior figures publicly rowed over claims of gradual payouts on compensation.

During a rare listening to in parliament, the previous chair of the organisation additionally reignited a livid row with the enterprise secretary Kemi Badenoch, saying he had been the sufferer of a “smear campaign” after he mentioned he was informed to delay funds to subpostmasters.

But lead campaigner Alan Bates, a former subpostmaster, informed MPs the federal government ought to simply “get on and pay people”. He additionally described the Post Office as a “dead duck” and mentioned it needs to be bought off for £1 to Amazon.

More than 700 subpostmasters had been prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 due to Fujitsu’s defective Horizon system made it seem cash was lacking from their branches.

Hundreds, together with Mr Bates, whose story was informed within the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, are nonetheless awaiting compensation.

In a generally explosive proof session, ex-chair Henry Staunton informed MPs on the Commons Business and Trade Committee he stood by his declare a high Whitehall official informed him to stall on compensation payouts.

That was disputed by Post Office CEO Nick Read, who informed MPs he didn’t consider anybody on the firm was informed by the federal government to decelerate funds.

Henry Staunton informed MPs on the Commons Business and Trade Committee he stood by his declare a high Whitehall official informed him to stall on compensation payouts.

(House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire)

Mr Staunton, who was sacked by Ms Badenoch final month, has mentioned the transfer would assist the Tories “hobble” into the election.

In response, Ms Badenoch accused him of a “blatant attempt to seek revenge following dismissal”.

But Mr Staunton informed the committee : “Why does everything remain so slow? I’ve spoken up on matters of genuine public concern, have been fired, and am now subject to a smear campaign.” He additionally mentioned that Mr Read had threatened to give up as a result of he was “unhappy with his pay”.

He additionally rejcted Ms Badenoch’s claims he was underneath investigation, saying: “This is an investigation, not into me, this is an investigation…into the chief executive Nick Read.”

He said that an 80-page report, prepared by the company’s HR director about Mr Read, contained just one paragraph on Staunton’s behaviour, claiming “politically incorrect comments attributed to me which I strenuously deny”.

The report was written after Mr Read “fell out” with the HR director, Mr Staunton said. He also told MPs that Mr Read had threatened to resign on a number of occassions – just an hour after Mr Read denied he had ever tried to quit.

Their testimony left MPs scratching thier heads, with committee chair Liam Byrne saying Mr Staunton gave “bombshell revelations about a boardroom that is in disarray, a chief executive [Nick Read] that is under investigation and a chief executive who has sought to resign, even though he told us on oath that he has not”.

In another twist, a director at the Post Office, Ben Tidswell, told staff after the hearing: “To my knowledge he has never tendered his resignation.”

Mr Staunton said the 80-page document “alleges… that Nick was going to resign because he was unhappy with this pay.”

He added that he himself “must have had four conversations when he said he was going to chuck it in.”

One MP on the committee, Tory Jonathan Gullis, called the admission a “shambles” and said: “There could also be one other drama: Mr Read and Mr Staunton vs the Post Office.”

The division for Business and Trade later confirmed that Mr Read was underneath investigation, however mentioned it could await the end result “before making any further judgement”.

In his proof, Mr Read additionally warned appropriate laws should be put in place if “mass exoneration is the right thing” in relation to convicted subpostmasters – including that the method “may well” lead to responsible folks being absolved.

Mr Bates additionally informed MPs he had thought of getting all the previous subpostmasters concerned within the preliminary High Court case to “stand as MPs when the next election comes”, including: “Then we’ll sort it out once and for all.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bates informed the committee that the federal government ought to “pay” the subpostmasters affected. “We keep coming back to this time after time after time – pay people.

“There’s a lot of distractions, a lot of other things brought up, thrown up all the time – but just get on and pay people.”

He mentioned: “My personal view about Post Office is it’s a dead duck and it has been for years, and it’s going to be a moneypit for the taxpayer in the years to come.

He added: “You should sell it to someone like Amazon for £1, get really good contracts for all the serving sub-postmasters and within a few years you’ll have one of the best networks around Britain.”

Mr Bates additionally mentioned he might see no finish to the scandal.“It’s very disappointing and this has been going on for years, as you well know, and I can’t see any end to it,” he mentioned.