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Dozens of Post Office investigators involved in the IT witch-hunt of sub-postmasters ‘are still employed’ at the firm


  • Investigators dubbed ‘the untouchables’ because of their power in Post Office

Dozens of investigators involved in the wrongful prosecution of sub-postmasters are still employed by the Post Office, it was claimed yesterday.

The investigators are dubbed ‘the untouchables’ because of their power within the organisation, according to its ousted chairman Henry Staunton.

He told The Sunday Times the company operated under a ‘dire’ culture that still considered the wrongly convicted postmasters were guilty and ‘on the take’.

Mr Staunton was sacked from his Post Office role last month following a public outcry over the firm’s treatment of its sub-postmasters, dramatised in ITV‘s Mr Bates vs the Post Office.

Mr Staunton (pictured) was sacked from his Post Office role last month following a public outcry over the firm's treatment of its sub-postmasters

Mr Staunton (pictured) was sacked from his Post Office role last month following a public outcry over the firm’s treatment of its sub-postmasters 

There has been a national wave of anger about the scandal since postmasters' long fight for justice was highlighted by a major ITV drama

There has been a national wave of anger about the scandal since postmasters’ long fight for justice was highlighted by a major ITV drama

More than 900 sub-postmasters and others were wrongly prosecuted, and more than 230 jailed, because of faults with the Horizon accounting software between 1999 and 2015. Hundreds are still waiting for compensation.

Mr Staunton, 75, who had been at the Post Office only since late 2022, claimed Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch sacked him over the telephone, allegedly telling him: ‘Someone’s got to take the rap for this.’

She angrily denied the claim and said it was a ‘disgraceful misrepresentation’ of the phone call and that Mr Staunton’s interview was ‘full of lies’. 

Mrs Badenoch said she asked Mr Staunton to step down as chairman because he had ‘a lack of grip getting justice for postmasters’.

In his 13 months as chairman, Mr Staunton said he was shocked by the governance at the Post Office. 

He said executives continued to mistrust sub-postmasters and viewed them with suspicion, despite the Horizon scandal.

He described the various compensation schemes as ‘terribly bureaucratic’, ‘terribly unhelpful’ and ‘terribly unsympathetic’, adding: ‘I thought, we haven’t got this right, we’re trying to make it difficult [to claim compensation].’

And he claimed that the government body that managed taxpayers’ ownership of the Post Office told its chief executive to say that the reason so few sub-postmasters had applied to have their convictions overturned was because they were guilty.

Mr Staunton also claimed he was instructed by a senior civil servant to stall compensation payments to Horizon victims so the Government could ‘limp into the election’ with the lowest possible financial liability. 

A government spokesman said: ‘We utterly refute these allegations.’



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