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Post office investigators were set targets for recovering money from postmasters, Horizon inquiry hears

Daily also said he had no formal criminal knowledge or criminal law when starting in his investigative role for the Post Office back in 2000

Zoe Grunewald
Tuesday 23 January 2024 17:59 GMT
The Horizon IT inquiry is investigating the scandal with led to the wrongful prosecution of hundreds of subpostmasters

A former Post Office investigator has revealed he was set a target by the Post Office to recover money from subpostmasters accused of false accounting and theft.

Robert Daily, who was involved in the criminal investigation of two wrongly convicted subpostmasters who died before their convictions were overturned, said he had been given a personal objective of recovering 40 per cent of money from those who were accused.

A document shown at the inquiry revealed that Mr Daily had exceeded his target. But he claimed he wasn’t rewarded by the Post Office and would not have necessarily have been marked down had he failed to meet this target.

Documents showed to the inquiry later on also revealed that “loss recovery” targets has risen to 65 per cent in 2013/14.

Post Office-branded documents read: “To ensure a robust approach to fraud loss recovery with a return rate of 65 per cent”.

Evidence given by Mr Daily seemed to suggest that the targets were linked to bonuses.

MPs have sent letters to 21 organisations including the Bank of England, the HMRC and the Treasury requesting information on public sector contracts awarded to Fujitsu (PA)

The counsel to the inquiry said: “It appears here that the target for loss recovery has increased since the 2009 one-to-one meeting record we looked at and then you were over target at 40 per cent. And here the objective is 65 per cent.

Is that right, that the target was increased by the Post Office?”

Mr Daily said: “I believe that target was increased after I was sent a document for my objectives for 2010.

“I can’t remember if it was 2013 to 2014 or 2011 to 2012, but it was in the figure of 65 per cent.”

Paul Patterson, European Director for Fujitsu, has apologised for the IT companies role in the scandal (AFP via Getty)

One postmaster that Mr Daily helped investigate, Peter Holmes, eventually pleaded guilty to four counts of false accounting and was sentenced to a community order. He died from a brain tumour in October 2015 before his conviction was posthumously quashed.

Mr Daily was asked about a period in November 2009 when he was the sole investigator in Scotland. He told the inquiry he felt under pressure to refer cases due to mounting backlogs, but that he did not think it affected the quality of the team’s work.

He also told how the Post Office’s legal team passed cases on to prosecuters in Scotland without being qualified in Scots law.

The inqury heard how Mr Daily believed he and other investigators were “not adequately supported” before a solicitor firm was brought in to advise in 2013.

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