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    Ex-Camelot boss named as new Post Office chair

    (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    The ex-chief executive of the former national lottery operator Camelot has been named as the new chair of the Post Office.

    The business secretary, Kemi Badenoch, appointed Nigel Railton to the role on Wednesday (1), replacing Henry Staunton, who was sacked in January. The government said he had been chosen for the role, which he will hold on an interim basis for an initial period of 12 months, because of his experience in “transforming organisations”.

    Railton will oversee the company as it expects to provide millions of pounds in compensation to victims of the Horizon IT scandal while also managing the daily revelations from the public inquiry into the scandal.

    Between 1999 and 2015, more than 900 post office operators were wrongly prosecuted because of faults with the Horizon computer system, which was developed by the Japanese technology company Fujitsu.

    Meanwhile, the Post Office Horizon enquiry is still on. In today’s proceeding, it was heard that Post Office’s lead lawyer considered halting all prosecutions of sub-postmasters until a report into the Horizon IT system was published.

    An email sent by the then head of criminal law, Jarnail Singh, to Martin Smith, a Cartwright King solicitor, in 2013, asked for Smith’s view on “why POL [Post Office Ltd] cannot simply stay and hold fire in prosecutions where there has been alleged Horizon issues, yes or no”.

    Smith replied to the email advising that “it would be assumed by many that POL had found and was trying to resolve a problem with the Horizon system”. 

    He wrote, “If applications were made to adjourn all existing cases until after the report becomes available, this would result in a ‘nightmare’ situation’.”

    Smith, who described the advice that he had been given as the view of Cartwright King, suggested that Singh was potentially deliberately being “less than clear” in his communications.

    He told the inquiry, “I thought at the time it was language used, but obviously as this has rolled on, I think that he perhaps knew a lot more than he was letting on.”

    The Post Office continued wrongly prosecuting sub-postmasters until 2015, with many going to prison for false accounting and theft.

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