Post office CEO Nick Read will return part of his £450,000 bonus after being rebuked by the chairman of the inquiry into the Horizon computer scandal.

The Post Office had claimed that its executives had fulfilled all obligations to support the inquiry into the system in its financial accounts last year.

However, the inquiry is still ongoing, and the Post Office’s statement wrongly said inquiry chairman Sir Wyn Williams had approved bonuses related to that support.

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After a lawyer acting on behalf of Sir Wyn questioned the accounts, the Post Office issued a statement apologising for the “inappropriate sub-metric related to the Horizon IT Inquiry”.

In a letter to the inquiry chairman, Mr. Read admitted the Post Office had made an “incorrect statement” in its accounts and apologized for what he described as “unacceptable errors”.

He also expressed regret over the mistakes made particularly against the background of “deeply concerning” evidence presented to the inquiry.

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The Horizon inquiry is investigating how hundreds of sub-postmasters became victims of a vast miscarriage of justice due to discrepancies in their sub-post office’s finances, which were blamed on the Post Office’s glitch-prone IT system, called Horizon.

Many of the sub-postmasters received prison sentences, criminal records, or went bankrupt. The Post Office board is considering whether other members of the leadership should return their bonuses associated with the sub-metric.

The inquiry has heard moving testimony from dozens of sub-postmasters who were falsely accused of fraud. Hundreds lost their livelihoods, were stigmatised in their communities, and some were sent to prison.

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Dozens of convictions have now been overturned in the courts, but many of those wrongly convicted are still awaiting compensation.

The next phase of the inquiry is due to start next month and will look at the action taken against the sub-postmasters, and their knowledge of and responsibility for failures in the investigation.

A later phase will explore the governance, including whistleblowing over the scandal.

In his letter, Mr. Read said the Post Office’s clear intent remained to offer full and fair compensation as quickly as possible, and they were doing all they could to work with the government to achieve that.

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