Podcast: Scully calls for Vennells to be stripped of CBE

In his first interview on the subject since leaving government, Paul Scully MP says former Post Office Chief Executive (2012 – 2019) Paula Vennells should “absolutely” lose her CBE which was awarded to her in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list.

“I’m a backbench MP now so I can say what I want, I think, reasonably. I think people do need to be held to account and that it includes Paula Vennells…. From what I see of it, the tactics used by the Paula Vennells-led Post Office were pretty horrendous and people need to be held to account.”

Scully also candidly admits the government should not have let the Post Office control the compensation process:

“If I had my time again I would have taken it in house and done it with the help of an independent arbiter. I think we were… the Post Office were trying to play catch up in that regard. They were coming up with their scheme…. I think by the time we realised this was going to be at risk of delay and complication, we’d gone probably too far down the line, but yeah I’d definitely have tried to manage it myself if I’d known that was the case.”

On the Horizon Compensation Advisory Board’s call for all Post Office convictions to be quashed, he said:

“In principle, I think that’s probably sensible. I know that just speaking to Nick Read and others in the Post Office, they were pretty clear that there were cases that Horizon had absolutely nothing to do with it and there were clear fraudulent cases within that. I think you do get to a point though… when you’ve just got to say “this is going on for so long” and “Are you really going to hold this up? You’ve already made enough mistakes for goodness’ sake over 20 years. Just get through it.” So I think there is a case to look at that… in principle I’m in agreement with it.”

It’s a wide-ranging conversation which gives some insight into what it’s like to be a junior minister with the job of attempting to put a serious wrong right.

Have a listen here.


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99 responses to “Podcast: Scully calls for Vennells to be stripped of CBE”

  1. While the King may be preoccupying the minds of many, do not FORGET our many post office victims and their ongoing predicaments.
    Nor overlook those responsible for the heinous tragedies and continue as if they have not the least concern for their treatment of human beings. Will there be any arrests this year or does fortune favour the guilty?
    If this is a demonstration of democracy, let’s explore autocracy.

  2. Look here, aren’t all you highly educated distinguished learned and accomplished pommie roos missing that great big hairy ape lurking in a corner in the room?

    What with more filth and poison coming out each day about the misconduct and downright evil, and there’s little I don’t know about that subject, of the GRUESOME TWOSOME, both surely soon to face charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, hasn’t something been overlooked?

    They aren’t stupid like Jar Jar Nail Binks, Cottam, Railway Bradshaw etc, they know it could be life imprisonment.

    Seizing their passports, including any Canuck travel documents, will be nowhere near enough.

    Both the hideous Bogey and the ghoulish Venall need to be taken into protective police custody without delay, before they either skip the country or Exit the earth itself, easy enough to arrange.

    GET ON IT, POMS!

  3. Since the vast majority of what’s gone past the Inquiry to date did not happen under the CEO-ship of Vennells but instead under her predecessor Adam Crozier’s, the Royal Mail cum Post Office CEO 2003-2010, he must be heartily congratulated at (presumably) influencing ITV (where he happened to be CEO from 2010-2017) to wholly omit from their excellent 2023 docudrama any mention, or even the faintest hint, of his central role in this awful scandal. Even the Castleton case, so central to the docudrama, arose, happened and perished under Crozier, not Vennells. The docudrama is a masterpiece of misdirection

    While as deserving of a long custodial sentence and 100% asset confiscation as Paula Vennells, Adam Crozier has thereby managed to avoid the public rage that has driven Vennells to explore refuge across the pond.

    Adam Crozier and his predecessors are also to be congratulated on managing to find Useful Idiots, liars, halfwits, ignoramuses. brown-nosers, conscienceless sociopaths or unprincipled bounders like Jarnail Singh, Elaine Cottam, Stephen Bradshaw, etc., to install into top management, and thereby afford a degree of legal insulation to the CEO and directors, who directly profited from the moneys extracted from the SPMs.

    Masterful misconduct!

    1. Adam was the CEO of Royal Mail. Royal Mail is a separate company to the Post Office. The only thing they have in common is that Royal Mail pick up letters from the Post Office to deliver.

      2 separate entities, completely.

  4. From what I’ve read this weekend it was Theresa May’s administration which put Ms Vennells up for the CBE and, despite some reservations from the honours committee, pushed ahead with it. Given where this whole horror show was at the time that’s extraordinary. It’s also been suggested that if the honour was for service to the Post Office it was more in the area of diversity and inclusion than in getting stuff right and having systems that worked properly.

    What I’m having trouble coming to terms with in all of this is that no-one seems to have the wit to see that this always looked awful. I used to work in the public sector. In the mid eighties there were little posters on notice boards reminding us of “the Judge over your shoulder”, ie your decision might be the subject of judicial review. So you did your best to get it right and to ensure that what you did would stand up to scrutiny. Later, as a manager, I would stress to people the notion that something doesn’t have to be bad to cause problems: looking bad will do it just as effectively.

    None of these people seemed to care. I quite agree with Mr Hollinrake that it’s only when they start being jailed for their behaviour in this scandal that we’ll begin to see the light.

  5. Handing back her CBE means nothing. She still retains the honour until and unless it’s revoked or annulled. Pressure needs to be applied to Sunak to annul this outrageous honour award.

  6. Why are the perpetrators referred to as The Post Office? Their employees, who consistently ignored growing evidence, and carried on persecuting innocent people, all had names. Why isn’t it revealed who the individuals within the post office actually are? I am becoming more and more bewildered by the fact that the subpostmasters were named and shamed, yet it appears that post office staff details are cloaked under the brand name. They are the ones who cruelly sat opposite the innocents and prosecuted them. I wonder if they ever consider that when they lie in bed at night searching for sleep.

    1. Exactly. These people were happy to puff out their chest when they were bullying and persecuting innocent people so let’s have them identified as the cowardly bullies they are.

  7. DWP were well aware of the issues with HORIZON, i worked at DWP during this time and there was always missing and incorrect benefit payments going into the post office card account for benefit claimants, as a clerical officer at that time I used to fill in forms regularly to replace missing money.It happened a lot and we used to joke about the Horizon black hole of money.I only know of the issues in my local office but it was obviously happenening everywhere.DWP managers never took much notice when I queried all these incorrect amonts, I remember an example once someone was due £86 from DWP and the Horizon only showed £23 on their screen. We used to just re isssue the missing amounts directly to the claimants via Giro so I wonder where all those missing payments went

    1. Post Office profits no doubt.

  8. Four grounds for a case of “Malicious Prosecution”:

    The defendant was the prosecutor and the action terminated with an acquittal.
    The prosecutor acted without probable cause.
    The prosecutor was actuated or impelled by legal malice, that is, by improper or sinister motive.
    The plaintiff suffered damage as a result of the prosecution

    Whatever legal mechanism is used to quash the clearly invalid Postmasters’ convictions, it should not prevent them bringing cases of malicious prosecution against the Post Office. [So a ‘Pardon’ is not good enough – it needs to be the legal equivalent of an “acquittal”.] It seems to me the inquiry should provide all the necessary evidence for the success of such cases.

    1. Malicious prosecution as well as conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

  9. Thank you Nick. We all have you to thank for bringing this to the forefront of everyone’s awareness.

  10. The injustice these poor sub postmaster / mistresses have suffered staggers beyond belief.

    The lies, cover up from all guilty parties that they knew what was going and chose to cover it up, they should serve a custodial sentence.

    The fact the former CEO is to hand back their CBE is needed, but in turn should not have got to this and should have been removed. More importantly how compensated they are in still receiving their pension which should be stopped immediately and funds built should be handed back to compensate the poor victims and their families, would also hazard a guess they are receipt of shares in the company and receiving dividend payments, should also be frozen.

    1. But Vennels handing back her CBE doesn’t mean much. John Lennon handed his back in 1969, but he’s still listed as a recipient because it was never formally removed (it was a protest action, which the government ignored). So, the CBE still needs to be formally removed.

  11. Stripping Paula Vennels of her CBE is the least of what should happen. This disgusting woman and her acolytes were part of a deliberate course of action that saw innocent people prosecuted criminally and sent to prison. She and a number of others should be prosecuted for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

  12. It wasn’t just the sub postmasters who were effected by this. I can guarantee that 1000’s of staff members were also wrongfully accused of theft during this period. I worked at the Post Office 2009 to 2010 and was shocked by the number of counter staff sacked for stealing.

  13. Paula Vennells’s CBE must be taken away from her NOW! As CEO during the problems of the Horizon software problem and she is to blame and must be made accountable. Why haven’t we been kept aware of those that wrote the software for Horizon being brought to justice – and I mean all of them that had any involvement.

  14. I think the real cause of the terrible scandal is the government contracts with Fujitsu. At the same time as installing Horizon they were running HMRC and the Defence Ministry. It was decided by govenment to kill the story dead so voters wouldn’t see how much of our lives depended on a faulty foreign company. Perhaps there is a trail of lost emails! Fujitsu works for the Japanese govenment and has made horrendous mistakes in their home country. This is all known information. Fujitsu was working on a system for the NHS but it never worked so it was rolled out in the Post Office. Then when it was piloted on 300 post offices to be checked and debugged. Then the PO prosecuted postmasters to keep them quiet for the errors in the software. I think the court dock would have to be a mile long to contain all the wrong doers. Allegedly.

    1. Since horizon was developed by ICL and it predated the takeover by Fujitsu I think you will find it a bit more complex than that. The 600 page summary of how the disaster originated written by Eleanor Shaik is a good history of the disaster.

  15. Thank you Mr Wallis for the continued work that you do uncovering the behaviour of these criminals. My concern regarding the Vennells’ gong is that this is just a distraction (possibly created by her own lackeys). Vennells’ behaviour does not warrant the removal of a title, it warrants the removal of her freedom. My hope is that she, and others, will feel the full force of the law not the a slap on the wrist.

  16. Stephen spencer avatar

    It’s always the same thing. In this country we only reward total failure with and promote them to the House of Lords increasing their pensions while the man in the street has to struggle along.
    At the end of the day it’s like being on a committee yes you can be on or in there but don’t get too big headed your meant to serve not be served.

  17. How much was Vennels getting paid as CEO? Is she currently receiving a pension and/or other benefits?
    Was there a board of directors overseeing this outfit? Who were the other big players / winners / value “takers” who had their snouts in this very lucrative trough?

    1. I have been so angry since I watched this programme, I was aware of this , but my god .

      To start with .

      From the top to the bottom in the judiciary, every judge who handed these convictions out , every prosecuting lawyer / barrister/ every gestapo investigating officer from the post office should be held to account .. far too often the judiciary get away with this .

      They administer the injustice and then hide behind the law.

      Charges of perjury , theft , even manslaughter should be brought..

      Any decent person ,could see from the minute this started this ,that these poor people were not cartels or mafia crooks, just decent people serving their communities, the post office was and is a public service..it does not belong to the executives , they had no business playing god ( now there an irony when Vennels can stand up and read the bible )
      The corrupt Crozier,( what’s ITV doing employing this guy )Vennels Angela V ( proper Nazi this nasty woman ) and others need to be exposed, punished convicted heavily fined ( or at least return their salaries and jailed..

      1. I have been so angry since I watched this programme, I was aware of this , but my god .

        To start with .

        From the top to the bottom in the judiciary, every judge who handed these convictions out , every prosecuting lawyer / barrister/ every gestapo investigating officer from the post office should be held to account .. far too often the judiciary get away with this .

        They administer the injustice and then hide behind the law.

        Charges of perjury , theft , even manslaughter should be brought..

        Any decent person ,could see from the minute this started ,that these poor people were not cartels or mafia crooks, just decent people serving their communities, the post office was and is a public service..it does not belong to the executives , they had no business playing god ( now there is an irony when Vennels can stand up and read the bible )
        The corrupt Crozier,( what’s ITV doing employing this guy )Vennels Angela V ( proper Nazi this nasty woman ) and others need to be exposed, punished convicted heavily fined ( or at least return their salaries and jailed..

        1. I totally agree James… this wasn’t a mistake by the Post Office… they knew exactly what was happening and so did Fujitsu. They should all be handed a custodial sentence, as was given to some of those innocent sob postmasters

      2. Absolutely on the nail.
        FROM Top to bottom, did anyone trouble to contest the sheer dishonesty rampant in and around PO. Was it so difficult to miss or perhaps the majority didn’t care!
        And now society will fund the legal bills of those who face justice despite having left their victims to harrowing destitution.

        1. Indeed, yes, society ends up paying the bill for this disgusting miscarriage of justice.
          Then there is the lives, the mental health and the livelihoods of those poor innocent people. Nothing can repair that damage.
          These people can never be compensated for their suffering and for their loss.

          Vennel’s, Crozier, the Judiciary and all that closed ranks to protect the PO and Horizon
          should be held accountable in the most severest of fashion. Both financially, by serving prison sentences and by the stripping of any awards granted by the British Government.

      3. I think there are definitely more people who should be investigated but it is very important to be measured and to distinguish else they won’t be.

        From what I have seen, and transcript makes clear judge did not think Angela vdb was an honest witness, (see https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2019/606.html#para365

        Angela Vdb seems culpable and actively involved in wrongdoing and as her less than honest actions led to adverse consequences for others then she should indeed be investigated for perjury, fraud etc along with CEO.

        Similarly there may be other senior officials who pursued cases they knew were suspect. The transcript above identifies several.

        One should also investigate Fujitsu and identify executives and look at existing government contracts and lobby hard for them to be excluded as a government supplier unless at least they make full compensation for the cost to the taxpayer of all the fallout. The government is in an election year with a shit economy unusually open to that so if someone did the research they might be pushing at a loosely closed door.

        The possibility of corporate manslaughter by the post office or Fujitsu (it was a foreseeable consequence that stress of a wrongful conviction or termination would lead to premature death or suicide) is worth pushing.

        However once you get into blaming judges, I think it’s likely to be very unhelpful and likely highly counterproductive for the general cause.

        Unless you can actually show an earlier judge was deliberately wrong in sentencing someone they knew to be innocent you have to assume they were making the best assessment on the evidence presented to them, that is their job.

        It was judges after all who identified the problem and called the original convictions “an affront to justice”, when finally given better evidence.

        I really don’t think it helps to go down the road of the daily mail or this government in blaming judges for doing what they are supposed to do and making a reasonable judgement on the law as it is and the facts as presented to them rather than giving a personal view or just giving the answer wanted.

        Similarly with barristers if they are presenting what their client told them is true, they are doing what they are supposed to do. They may well have questioned but been told what to do.

        An exception may be the in house lawyers at post office who it seems may have pushed things seemingly vindictively despite doubts or contrary evidence and possibly instructed outside lawyers without giving them full facts. If so then they should be investigated.

        So to summarise, if you press for Angela vdb to be investigated as well as ceo and for Fujitsu executives and pressure on contracts, you will probably get traction and achieve justice.

        If you press to pillory a judge who in the face of evidence from a respected public body that someone has committed fraud and that nobody has problems with the system and in many cases a (forced but they don’t know that) confession of guilt for doing what they did you will lose support.

        We ideally want focussed targeted identification of specific wrongdoers and pointers to culpability and realistic remedies, not a general lynch mob against anyone remotely involved.

        Just my friendly advice.

        1. Ilya Very good analysis

    2. She apparently got £400,000 in ‘bonuses’ when she left the Post Office. Utterly disgusting.

    3. Most of it has been said…. But if duly found to be criminal/ fraudulent, then why wouldn’t the full Compensation paid to postmasters, etc, be funded, in part at least, from criminals’ post office and other pensions ??

    4. In year period 2018/9 she was salaried £717,500 of which £386k was in performance bonus. A mere £36k was deducted due to the litigations impacting on the post office business. What mattered to Vennells was reducing the historical losses leading up to the Royal Mail / Post office split as her bonuses would have been dependent on this. She was too far down the rabbit hole to resolve this issue and too arrogant and greedy to relinquish her reputation and financial bonuses. She may lose her CBE ( rightly) but she will walk away without being held accountable. Sadly, there is corruption practically everywhere you look !

  18. Vennells only took up her CEO position in 2012. Up to that point, there was another CEO called Adam Crozier who is now the CEO of ITV. Unfortunately that hasn’t been mentioned in the ITV program.
    All the sub post masters who have been wrongfully attacked should get all the money they have lost back, plus interest, as well as a healthy amount as an apology from the government for what has been done to them. Families of the people that had died, should get the same compensation. This should be done now not in 2025.
    All of the parties involved in the harassment and prosecutions etc should be brought to task and any that have lied in court or parliament prosecuted. The perception of the post office is immaterial now. What matters is the sub post masters and their dependants. Let’s hope the the government allows the courts to show what true justice is.

  19. Richard Hopkins avatar

    Paula Vennells’ CBE citation included turning the loss-making Post Office into a profitable business, and “transforming” its network.

    It is now incontrovertible that some of the ‘profits’ were actually monies stolen from subpostmasters. And the ‘transformation’ of the network involved ruining the lives of thousands of subpostmasters, their families and employees.

    Mr Scully’s position on her CBE is made clear above. The current postal services minister, Kevin Hollinrake, even suggested to Nick yesterday that she might consider “surrendering” it.

    I know there’s a petition on 38 degrees linked by Susan above calling for it to be revoked. That power actually rests with Parliament. A petition has been started on the parliament website now formally calling for it. If it reaches 10,000 signatures, the government will be required to respond. At 100,000 signatures, Parliament must consider a debate the proposal.

    Can I ask anyone with a view on this subject to consider signing the petition (and making others aware of it)?

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/654258

    It is currently awaiting ‘approval’ – which will hopefully be granted as soon as possible

  20. It’s not just Vennells, but many PO executives, lawyers and investigators should be in court on their own account for perjury, malicious prosecution and obstructing justice, because a great number of them very early on knew perfectly well that the Horizon system was seriously flawed. Moreover the persistent claim to the accused SPMs was that “no-one else” had reported IT flaws is itself a form of perjury.

    The compensation amount to those whose lives were either partly or wholly ruined by this massive travesty of justice STILL has fallen hugely short of appropriate, with at least £46million of the £50+million disappearing down a black hole of legal fees. The only group of people benefiting from this scandal are the legal profession.

    Successive governments have utterly failed to properly compensate the victims. This case blows open wide the woefully inadequate and ludicrously convoluted British Legal system of proper, timely justice for many SPMs AND their families who did NOTHING WRONG.

  21. MR DESMOND K PHILLIPS avatar
    MR DESMOND K PHILLIPS

    If I were Paula Vennells (CBE), the only thing that I could do to salvage some scraps of reputation would be to turn Queens Evidence and shop the whole rotten core of PO at the time to the police/inquiry, and also the Fujitsu “organising minds” behind the cover-up. And of course return the CBE, while making a huge donation to the SPM hardship funds.

    1. Anthony Baden Baker avatar
      Anthony Baden Baker

      Er, King’s Evidence, I think.

  22. If she were a decent person she would hand it back voluntarily.

    1. She’s clearly not a decent person. What kind of person and a one time minister for the Anglican Church actively pushes for innocent people to be prosecuted and sent to prison. SHE should be the one prosecuted! This has made me so angry. All those innocent people and the ones who either took their lives or have since died after waiting so long due to her and her like placing barriers at every turn. It’s wickedly evil

    2. And that’s the problem. She clearly isn’t a decent person, despite donning her robes and preaching on a Sunday like a true hypocrite.

  23. Paula is 100% responsible for this https://www.onepostoffice.co.uk/media/45078/ara-201718-final-with-signatures.pdf , which is the annual report published the year the Bates and others court case that was lost. In light of what we now know it is a staggering read and shows how out of touch the organisation, under her leadership, was. You have to go to page 73 to find a mention of “one of the greatest miscarriage of Justice in British legal history” and it is completely dismissive of the scale of the issue or the possibility that the Post Office was wrong (which clearly it was). There is a risk section to the report where this does not event warrant a mention. I cannot see how, having produced this, she is eligible for a CBE.

    1. And look where she is now. Head of an NHS trust. She has all the right qualifications doesnt she??

      1. WHAT NOW IN CHARGE Of THE NHS OMG IS THIS TRUE ?????????

      2. While also considering Fujitsu are still getting millions of pounds of taxpayers money for contracts. WHY? Given there track record in the post office.
        The Bishop of St Albans says we should not judge Paula Vennels and that the Church is giving her support, I would be interested in a sermon about Christ overturning the money changers at the temple, would the good bishop support the money changers and chastise Christ to wait till all the evidence has been given, or was Christ correct in being angry at such greed?
        Paula Vennels is still licenced as a priest, but chooses not to perform tasks

  24. Please strip Paula Vennells of her honour. She displayed no honour to the victims involved in this case. It is disgusting what the Post office did to its post masters and is a travesty of justice. Cover up after cover up at the expense of people’s lives.

  25. I completely agree with all comments posted. Vennells, all her associates that were part of this utter disgrace and Fujitsu bosses involved with horizon should all do time as far as I’m concerned. It’s obvious the huge sums of money spent by post office limited on buying the system were the main cause nobody wants to come clean about. Post office ltd were embarrassed they spent a fortune on a dud and Fujitsu didn’t want to give them their money back under any circumstances. Big corporates have been fleecing us all for years, both here and in the USA.

  26. Paula Vennells was ultimately responsible but do not let the focus on her to allow all those others who were complicit in this scandle to get away and not be held to account

  27. PV will be dead by the time this debacle comes to court – if indeed it does!

    How many more millions of tax payers’ money is to be spent on her defence and of course her cronies’ ?

    Poor defenceless victims! Will they ever be compensated?

    1. Agnes Marie Watson avatar
      Agnes Marie Watson

      She’s like all of the people like her Teflon coated
      It’s frightening to know that there is people like Paula Vennells in the world
      Hard of feeling
      Protecting her own back when she puts others life at risk without a care for them their family children
      She should be put in jail with immediate effect
      The government needs to step in immediately strip her of her pension

      1. Exactly, and this nonsense should not be allowed to drag on until 2025. Pay these people at least £500,000 each for the trauma that they have suffered, not to mention those who lost their lives. Yet the real culprits are promoted out of this crisis will big salaries and pensions, unashamedly carrying on with life. The Government should stop fannying about and get this sorted. A disgrace.

    2. She needs to forfeit the CBE for being overall responsible being the CEO for PO! and endorsing the lies and fraud! Freeze the pay off of £Millions for deception and prosecute!

  28. Julie Partridge avatar

    This whole scandalous affair has gone on too long. The tv drama makes it abundantly clear that those in power (corporate and political) care about only one thing : reputation. Their own and the Post Office Brand. For that they dragged down and destroyed the reputation and lives of the very people to built what was once considered to be a jewel in this country’s crown. Just as they continue to do with the only other decent asset we had : The NHS. Did someone say Vennels now has role in this institution now? Well if so that should be examined again before she destroys any more lives.
    Words such as trust, honesty, decency and hard working are easily associated with the victims of this scandal.
    The words liars, bullies, self protectionists and dishonest leaders can only describe the Post Office Management Board and ultimately those who appointed them.
    Who got and continues to be punished?

    1. WHO recommended her for a CBE and what merit was there for doing so?

      Almost as big as the scandal itself..

      Why haven’t the victims been fully compensated ? Justice delayed is justice denied.

  29. She should also be prosecuted as well as losing her title to reflect the suffering she has cost on the innocent victims

    1. Absolutely, 100% Vennells should be stripped of the CBE and properly investigated, charged and held to account. Then have all her assets stripped away and be left with nothing like her victims . The difference is that she is not innocent. Also charge those also responsible for the cover up at both The Post Office and at Fujitsu. Is there no sense of shame or idea of right or wrong any more? It is a sad reflection of our modern western society that, yet again, we see disgraceful behaviour among the criminal elite being rewarded. Without true accountability there is the TRUE JUSTICE for all the wronged Sub Postmasters? The damage done to the innocent is unthinkable.

      1. Unfortunately any form of “ We will look into this by the current government will probably result in lots of stuff being accidentally
        deleted and dragged on into another twenty years

    2. The person who put Paula Vennells forward for a CBE is either a crook themselves seriously deluded of any common sense – is this a case of a job for the “BOYS”!!! How can one person be linked to Government/Church of England – falsely accusing innocent people & prosecuting them whilst acting as a priest whilst a school governor in a High profile school ( for the wealthy but is run as a charity/trust like ETON ) no tax paid there then!!? Corruption at the highest level..be honest if one goes down they all do ..think No 10 Covid parties £50 fines to Boris ex PM £50 fine to current Pm for 14 illegal gatherings while police were standing outside no 10 -joe blogs £10,000.00 fine to have one gathering too many

    3. A national disgrace, the enquiry should not be allowed to drag on until 2025. It’s obviously a cover up, the victims should have been paid out years ago and the Board of the Post Office and Fujitsi who were complicit should be prosecuted in the criminal courts and locked. Awarded a CBE for services to the Post, what total boll***s.

      1. April Barrett MBE avatar
        April Barrett MBE

        Absolutely agree with all you’ve said.. get it sorted as much as it could ever be, a total travesty.. I even think the country should sell the post office off.. get rid of that name forever.. it will always have a dark cloud over it now..

        1. Better to strip the Post Office of it’s statutory right to bring its own prosecutions. Give it to the RSPCA instead, since it currently has to bring private prosecutions

      2. I’d say it’s worse than that, because it’s not just a cover-up, the whole thing is a conspiracy, as they’ve acted in concert to perpetrate the fraud. There’s probably layers and layers of management down into worker bees, who may have participated perhaps though without fully being aware of it. But, as in the case of the investigator questioned on Thursday, he knew alright that there were questions being asked about Horizon, it was public knowledge and had featured in Computer Weekly and Private Eye at least by that time, but because no-one above him in the company had mentioned (? according to him) specific problems, he just ignored it all. A duty of candour at all levels of entities like this within the government purview certainly must be introduced. But the main thing; at the earliest possible opportunity PO (and all other similar entities) must have the power to bring private prosecutions (which can even result in prison sentences) removed; it’s a blatant conflict of interest if a so-called injured party is also the investigator of the other party. Apart from anything else, they know exactly which ‘bodies to bury’ so to speak, in order to make their case against the so-called perpetrators watertight! The whole thing stinks!

    4. Mervyn Lickfold avatar

      Totally agree. I also note, as an added disgarce, that I cannot add my name to those calling for a Partliamentary “debate” on the issue. Can it be that they too i.e. our government be using dodgy IT equipment which is not fit for purpose!

      1. Its nothing to do with the IT equipment. Its to do with the majoritry of MP’s unfortunately who all have their snouts in the trough,—and they sleep very well at night and only worry when they get caught out

  30. She should not only be stripped of her title but also prosecuted for her dishonesty to give her time to reflect on the suffering caused to her victims

  31. The Horizon scandal is a national disgrace and deserves not only forensic investigation, but also payments of compensation that amply satisfy the affected victims and their families, but also punish the culprits that lied.
    Compensation should come from the seizure of all luxury goods, cars and savings of ALL the people that enabled the lies. Vennells should be stripped of her CBE and imprisoned, as should all the senior players, whether still employed or not.

    1. I agree with comments I’ve read on this scandal.
      Why are enquiries called in the public interest when they take 20/30/40 years to reach a conclusion and by that time the guilty have got away without prosecution. Just look at Hilsborough as my point in fact!!!!
      I believe the CEO and all of the board members who were complicit in this travesty should be punished through the courts. That will never happen because our government cannot afford to have The Post Office besmirched under their watch. Talk about conspiracy.
      To tell an individual that they were the ONLY ONE this had happened to when they knew all along it was happening to hundreds of others is treason to the people …………. PUNISH THEM NOW and compensate these poor people handsomely immediately, quashing all convictions and with a public apology.
      Ask the general public what they feel is appropriate compensation and never mind the cost to The Post Office!

      1. Re the reasons for Ms Vennels receiving her CBE award may wish to look at the Justice for Subpostmasters Alliance summary report on the Horizon scandal. Then consider the role of Government in this matter.

        https://www.jfsa.org.uk/uploads/5/4/3/1/54312921/origins_of_a_disaster_-_summary_-_eleanor_shaikh.pdf

  32. i am
    absolutely disgusted that this despicable woman was given an award her own decency should have made her turn it down but that’s the point i suppose she has no decency or morals – she never once tried to get to the bottom of it with fugitsu they are the real culprits but this woman was the CEO and paid accordingly do she is up there with the low life’s who
    put these people through hell , may she never sleep peacefully in her bed may everyone one of those innocent people be in her mind everyday – she did nothing to help her members yet she was awarded an MBE utterly disgusting strip her of it

  33. I cannot believe Paula Vennells and the management are not ALL lined up to be sentenced to prison for this mistake and mistreatment.

  34. Paula Vennells was and is ultimately responsible for this fiasco along with the British Government. She should be stripped of her CBE. Her award is an insult to the many other CBE award holders.

  35. Tracey-Lynne Snowdon avatar
    Tracey-Lynne Snowdon

    l agree that Vennells and those whose decisions to hide, delay and ignore information should be held accountable. Going into attack mode which led to distress and deaths should be held liable. CBE being returned is not enough. Vennalls and her cohorts have gone on to well paid positions. Prison would be appropriate, financial reparations should be explored but I have to hope someone can expose anyone who was part of this awful miscarriage. For us mere mortals to shout ‘Shame’ is probably the only chance to hold them accountable

  36. Vennell’s conduct is absolutely appalling and a lady of the cloth/church. She’s a deplorable human. Strip her of the CBE although that’s the least we can do . To make someone this vile accountable is like
    “ whistling in the wind “ a real heartless corporate sociopath. Shame on you , shame on everyone responsible for the cover up, and total destruction of innocent lives. Corporate Manslaughter. “ GUILTY “

    1. Guilty, Paula Vennels has blood on her hands.

  37. Corporate negligence is a criminal offence. Vennells losing her CBE is a an absolute minimum , she should be taken to court and those who gave a CBE publically disgraced.

      1. This case against these poor people,is the most corrupt and disgusting miscarriages of justices of all time.Yes Vennells should be stripped of her CBE minimum straight away!.And then she should be tried and prosecuted along with all the other people who new and covered up the truth knowingly,and perjured themselves in court.These descpicable excuses for “Human beings “,changed the lives of hardworking people and their families forever,no amount of money could ever compensate the poor family’s of the people who were put through “Hell”,unnecessarily,just that the post Office reputation would not be “tarnished “, in the words of Vennells.The only true justice that could happen would be Vennells and all her co conspirators going to prison for there horrendous continuing unfair treatment of good honest hardworking people.

    1. Please see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strip-paula-vennells-of-her-cbe

      The whole episode screams corporate/government conspiracy

  38. How is Vennells still in a job? Anybody else after that sandal would be I. Prison?

    She should be ashamed

    Government should be ashamed

    CBE for this????

    She’s now in the NHS no wonder it’s a mess?

    1. She’s actually already lost all of her board positions including in the NHS and also her role in the Church of England.

      1. PCOJ Investigator avatar
        PCOJ Investigator

        What she needs to lose is rather more substantial.

        And I don’t merely mean all her assets, and her liberty.

        The law is an ass.

  39. Vennells in possession of a CBE makes every deserving person in possession of an honour seem cheep . This lady must be held to account for the actions she took so many years ago.

  40. What happened to the money that was paid up as ‘fraudulently taken’ by the sub postmasters and postmistresses even though it was the Horizon programme actually at fault?
    Did it go into a special account or into the PO general coffers?

    1. My bet would be that a good deal of the cash went indirectly into Fujitsu staff bank accounts given that Fujitsu have admitted that they had no control or oversight whatsoever over the remote access used by their staff. See https://www.computerweekly.com/news/366537376/Fujitsu-staff-had-unrestricted-and-unauditable-remote-access-to-Post-Office-branch-systems
      “… when asked whether there was an audit or monitoring to see if people accessed the live environment outside of the system outside of the OCR policies, Parker admitted that “ultimately they were trusting [people] to follow the process”

      1. Absolutely…. I’d love to see an investigation into all the connections of this company to government, they seem seriously closeted. Interesting 🧐 oh and https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strip-paula-vennells-of-her-cbe

      2. Screams corporate/governmental conspiracy please also see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strip-paula-vennells-of-her-cbe

      3. My thoughts exactly, It would explain why the postmasters where told that there was no problem with the system, there’s so many suggestions that there was money stolen this way, it maybe even bigger than just the staff.

    2. Yes something stinks doesn’t it …. Corporate/ government cover ups also see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strip-paula-vennells-of-her-cbe

    3. Screams of a conspiracy…. Indeed where is this missing monies ? plus repayments made to correct the so called losses ….? Possibly money laundering on a mass scale . We’ll never find the truth …. Corporate manslaughter “ Guilty “ also see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strip-paula-vennells-of-her-cbe

  41. John O'sullivan avatar

    Well a bit like Brighton Pier,alright as far as it goes but useless for reaching France.He must know more,he must see signs of criminal behaviour by POL and Minister’s?He is a friend of the victim’s but I just feel he is holding back.Great Interview as ever by Nick Wallis and the team.

  42. This appears to be part of a larger problem about concealing evidence being legalised. Once you can do that, you can do anything and get away with it, but it requires a court order.

    That workaround apparently started to be embedded thirty years ago, when money laundering started to become illegal. Especially in countries that relied economically on “financial services”, that business was necessary and it also became even more profitable as laundering became more and more illegal.

    If you can make an illegal contract to transfer the proceeds of crime unjusticiable by having it made into a court order, you can also make that contract cover hiding the evidence of that transaction. Truly two pretty simple terms which are both illegal, but once they are in a court order, that overrides the law.

    There are jurisdictions which chose not to implement AML and made it easy to do this. Once that’s happened, you can just choose one of those jurisdictions for your contract. The simultaneous rise of mediation / arbitration means it can operate under the radar on the grand scale. As indeed it does.

    Both the SRA and especially the Law Society are aware of this, but claim you cannot criticise other countries’ rules. I think actually you can, but you don’t need to. You just say that it is not permitted to pervert the course of justice and using a choice of law clause is no excuse. However enough of it has been slid into English law by now.

    If the client wants it then lawyers’ ethics requires that one advises the client how to do it. If a lawyer does it, it’s all subject to privilege. Legal privilege has been actively extended over the same time-period. I am sorry to say the Law Society may threaten to sue in defamation if one says they turned a blind eye to it, so goodness knows what they would do if one said that they hired QCs to help actively to extend privilege, though the case reports are public.

    Once the court system lost a sense that hiding evidence of wrongdoing was wrong, you could just contract out of liability for anything, because court orders override everything. Once the courts and their officers are prepared to override the rule of law, there is really no way back from that. It is also hardly surprising that the technique has spread and is everyday practice, and that from time to time it goes horribly wrong.

    If you now say that that technique was professionally wrong, the consequences would be huge, and for people rather more influential than subpostmasters and subpostmistresses. I should be less surprised at the lack of interest in that technique, which I have to say is really extremely interesting, like an extended game of chess.

    1. This whole corporate to government cover up screams conspiracy…. Oh see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strip-paula-vennells-of-her-cbe

  43. Evan Aled Bayton avatar

    I have yet to hear that anyone Vennells included has been held to account. I agree about stripping her of the CBE but I wonder whether she should be facing trial and a long prison sentence. It has never been clear to me whether the money was real and vired into other accounts possibly a fraud or whether it was generated by dysfunctional programs. Why hasn’t legal action been taken against Fujitsu? The surge alone in subpostmasters with problems should have been a red flag. The foot dragging and obfuscation is a recurrence of the UK state’s attitude just like Hillsborough and the blood products scandal. All of these cruel deceitful mendacious attempts at coverup are likely much more expensive than trying to put things right quickly. Finally the legal system has major problems of attitude and available resources which cannot help.

    1. Evan, I completely agree with your comment on all accounts. What you describe is also what we are experiencing with corporate cover up, negligence, obfuscation etc etc. We have to hope that one day this “corrupt” system changes, severely holding those to account on all levels. Hopefully changes will now be made with more publicity supporting this scandal.

      This details our ongoing battle with our pending public inquiry.
      http://www.eljamelinquiry.org.uk

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