Post Office scandal inquiry calls for people to come forward

The man leading the inquiry into the jailed postmasters scandal says gagging agreements with the Post Office will not be enforced.

The scandal is now being investigated by a public inquiry
The scandal is now being investigated by a public inquiry

Sir Wyn Williams, chairman of the Horizon IT Inquiry for Post Office Limited, is re-iterating his call for people involved in training, assisting, auditing or investigating subpostmasters to come forward.

He said has told those willing to speak that the Post Office will not seek to enforce the terms of any non-disclosure agreement (NDA) it may have with current or former employees, subpostmasters, branch managers or assistants, or directors in relation to the inquiry’s terms of reference – subject to certain conditions, outlined in relevant correspondence.

The announcement comes after previous commitments secured by Sir Wyn to apply individual NDA waivers on a case-by-case basis.

Tracy Felstead from Telford gives evidence to the inquiry

It is hoped the move will encourage more people to respond to the inquiry’s recent call for evidence relating to phases three and four of the inquiry.

Phase three will focus on ‘operation: training, assistance, resolution of disputes, knowledge and rectification of errors in the Horizon system'; Phase four will cover ‘Action against subpostmasters and others: policy making, audits and investigations, civil and criminal proceedings, knowledge of and responsibility for failures in investigation and disclosure’.

Sir Wyn said: “I have been made aware of potential concerns regarding the ability for certain persons to engage with the inquiry in light of obligations those persons may have under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with Post Office Limited.

“I hope that this announcement alleviates the above concerns and that any and all persons with relevant information who may have been previously deterred from engaging or participating with the inquiry may now feel free to do so.”

The chair has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence but is inviting people with information to make themselves known.

Those with information relating to phases three and four are invited to respond to the call for evidence by June 30.

Three Midlands Post Office workers were wrongly jailed over the scandal, and were eventually cleared after the miscarriage of justice was revealed.

Tracy Felstead, of Bournside Drive, Telford, was wrongly jailed for six months, and has spoken of the impact the ordeal has had on her life.

Rubbina Shaheen, 56, who ran Greenfields Post Office, in Shrewsbury, was wrongly jailed for 12 months in 2010 for false accounting.

Carl Page, 55, who kept the branch in Anson Street, Rugeley, was wrongly jailed for two years in 2007 after being convicted of stealing £94,000.

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