Former Post Office chief Paula who dragged staff to court in IT blunder scandal is forced to QUIT her job as government adviser
- Mrs Vennells earned £4.9m during her seven years as CEO of the Post Office
- Mrs Vennells accused and sued former postmasters of stealing from their tills
- She then oversaw a failed mediation scheme and decided to fight the 550 postmasters in court, costing an eye-watering £32million in taxpayers’ money
- She received a CBE for her service and was given a job as a government adviser
The former Post Office boss blamed for pursuing a £90million court case against her own staff has been forced to quit as a government adviser.
Paula Vennells was appointed by ministers as a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office after she left her position as chief executive of the Post Office last year amidst an IT scandal.
But she has faced criticism for dragging 550 former postmasters and postmistresses to court after they were accused of stealing from their own tills.
Some were jailed, made bankrupt or branded fraudsters and hounded out of their jobs because glitches in a new computer system had caused shortfalls in their accounts.
Mrs Vennells, who earned £4.9million during her time as chief executive between 2012 and 2019, received a CBE and was given a job as a government adviser
The postmasters brought a High Court civil case claiming compensation, which the Post Office spent an estimated £32million fighting.
In an out-of-court settlement in December, the Post Office finally apologised and announced it would pay £58million to the former postmasters affected.
But Mrs Vennells, who earned £4.9million during her time as chief executive between 2012 and 2019, received a CBE and was given a job as a government adviser.
On Wednesday Boris Johnson confirmed that there would be an independent inquiry into the scandal.
Mrs Vennells’ resignation from her Cabinet Office role is a victory for the Daily Mail, which has repeatedly highlighted her role in the Horizon IT scandal.
The first shortfalls in postmasters’ accounts appeared in the early 2000s. Mrs Vennells joined the Post Office in 2007 and became boss in 2012.
She oversaw a failed mediation scheme and then decided to fight postmasters in court, costing an estimated £32million in taxpayers’ money.
Her replacement, Nick Read, quickly capitulated, paying a £58million settlement and apologising.
Yesterday in a heated parliamentary debate, an MP said she should also be stripped of her CBE and fired as chairman of Imperial College Hospitals NHS Trust. She is also an ordained Church of England priest.
Mrs Vennells has faced criticism for dragging 550 former postmasters and postmistresses to court after they were accused of stealing from their own tills
Labour MP Kevan Jones, speaking in Parliament, said: ‘Paula Vennells was the chief executive of the Post Office.
‘She knew what was going on, the strategy in the court case and all about the bugs.Why is it that someone who’s overseen this absolute scandal is allowed to still hold public positions?
‘She was a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office and was removed from that post. I welcome that.’
Around 50 postmasters are expected to hear later this month whether their criminal convictions will be overturned.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that Paula Vennells stepped down from her role earlier this month, as part of a wider refresh of the Cabinet Office board. We’d like to thank Paula for her work as a non-executive board member.’
A spokesman for Mrs Vennells said: ‘Paula Vennells resigned from her role on the Cabinet Office board some weeks ago, along with others.’
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