• Saturday, June 15, 2024

UK News

Former Post Office executive forgets key email on remote access, inquiry hears

Photo: iStock

By: Pramod Thomas

FORMER Post Office executive Angela van den Bogerd has said that she had forgotten about an email from 2010 which mentioned the possibility of remotely accessing cash balances in subpostmasters’ branch accounts.

Van den Bogerd had previously said during the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry in central London that she had never knowingly engaged in any wrongdoing related to the scandal.

She was a senior director in the Post Office working with sub-postmasters. She worked for the Post Office from 1985 – 2020, and personally handled many sub-postmasters’ complaints about the Horizon IT system.

The former official began her evidence to the public inquiry with an apology.

“I am truly sorry for the devastation caused to you, your family and friends,” she said to wrongly convicted sub-postmasters.

During the inquiry, she faced questions about whether she had deliberately overlooked the revelation that Horizon developer Fujitsu could access accounts remotely.

It also referenced a December 5, 2010 email from Lynn Hobbs, the organisation’s general manager of network support, which highlighted Fujitsu’s capability to remotely alter branch account entries.

However, van den Bogerd claimed during the inquiry that she did not recall receiving such emails.

However, evidence presented during the inquiry, which aims to unravel the complexities surrounding the Horizon system, suggested otherwise.

Despite her claims, Van den Bogerd was pressed on her awareness of remote access, with emails from both 2011 and 2014 indicated that the issue had been raised multiple times.

However, she claimed not to remember challenging these assertions, despite the potential gravity of the situation.

She insisted that if she had been aware of the implications of the emails, she would have taken action.

On Wednesday (24), the inquiry heard that the management committee sought to pause all prosecutions in 2013, recognising the systemic issues with the Horizon system.

However, former chief executive Paula Vennells advocated for some prosecutions to continue, a decision that has come under intense scrutiny in light of subsequent revelations.

The inquiry has highlighted a pattern of mismanagement and lack of oversight surrounding the Horizon system, with evidence suggesting that warnings about remote access were either overlooked or downplayed by senior executives.

According to reports, the testimony of Van den Bogerd and others involved in the Post Office’s handling of the Horizon system will play a crucial role in uncovering the truth and delivering justice to those affected.

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