Write up of yesterday’s proceedings: postofficetrial.com/2019/03/horizo…
Mr Henderson (POB) has just shown Aakash a balance check on 9/5/2015 which shows no £17K shortfall...
A doesn’t know.
Judge has just sneezed twice. That makes me feel better.
POB says evidence was that he should readjust the cash/stock figure ie carry out a new cash declaration
POB and that resolved the problem
A don’t know why it doesn’t say
POB your WS says you were told how to sort it, you did what you were told and it was sorted
POB did you recount the money?
A no we just did adjustments
POB and that worked?
POB can you take me through those steps
A can’t remember
POB but you didn’t make a cash declaration
A can’t remember
A is this saying we are up or balanced?
POB they cancel each other out
POB the overall position would be zero
A why doesn’t it say that
J [to POB] you may want to take instruction on this
POB I’m told I’m right
A no if it balances it should say zero
A is not sure
J says he’s not sure POB is sure. Asks him to spell it out. POB spells it out.
A says well it wasn’t fixed as we were £!7K up weren’t we?
POB we’ve discussed that
[there is a snort of derision the public “gallery”]
A says no
J says, so this was pressing a few buttons and the problem righted itself.
A says yes
J asks POB to be clearer in his questioning.
A I counted and must have been £16K up and entered the wrong figure, so I re-entered them again and got the correct figure.
POB when you say re-enter...
A could be either. A explains how easy it is to make a mistake, especially in a busy branch. They were one of the few branches to stay open after hours which meant they were serving customers whilst doing CDs
POB is it possible you made a mistake?
A no - it’s easier that cash
POB but a mistake is still possible
POB isn’t that the most likely explanation?
A no because I would have had to make the same mistake twice -getting £18K, re-doing it, getting £18K and then leaving it.
POB okay let’s go to it….
POB you were told re-check the stock unit. is that correct?
now looking at H logs and filtered to show stamps only
A not by me
POB how can that be a bug
A cos after I sorted it out it stayed up...
A after I adjusted them, they still went back up. I had to do it twice and i wouldn’t make the same mistake
POB are you saying you made the declaration twice and after doing the first one it went back up again.
A yes. when I called her the following week
A no I had to do it twice. I called Deborah Lamley, we fixed it and then I had to call her back later when it shot up to £16K again.
POB I don’t think we can take this any further.
POB takes A to transaction data.
POB and you rang the helpdesk in relation to this
POB takes him to the call logs
A I did when the helpline told me to
POB says it was never reversed
POB this is the 12pm phone call
A I reversed it after I spoke to the helpdesk
POB as far as PO is concerned you did not reverse it at all
A I did reverse it in theevening after speaking to NBSC [helpline]
A but we did - we reversed it later on
POB as far as the PO can see that didn’t happen
A cos it happened after 7pm it wouldn’t look like I did it on that date
A yep after 7pm - here it is on the log 116
[A taking J through log]
A reads from log notes
POB okay… can we just look at the call below that - 117…
POB 117 says you failed to reverse…
POB okay there is a single transaction of £3100
A I did reverse it - you can see it there
POB it looks like there has been a £3100 transaction which has not been reversed properly. ie you need a TC for £3100
A several days later
POB but your complaint is that you were £6200 out of pocket
We are having a 7 minute break. Back at 1145
POB do you agree that if the stamp declaration goes up the cash position with go down
A i don’t see why that would happen
A no… why would that happen
POB because you’ve got more stock the cash would go down…
A i”m not sure about that
POB are u saying that that you declared the cash and stock accurately
POB did you ever inflate the stock to hide a cash deficit
POB I suggest you did that
[just accused him of false accounting!]
A no I didn't
Okay we’ve gone back to the MoneyGram issue.
POB if you reversed the transaction so you’re no longer £3,100 - then you get it reversed £3,100 and then you get a TC so you’re £3,100 up?
A no. would it be helpful if I explained exactly what happened?
A explains the situation as he see it. He tries a £3,100 transaction twice which fails. He doesn’t manage to cancel them effectively and gets a £6,200 deficit. He then tries to sort it out by reversing it with help from the helpline. He gets a £3,100 TC
POB let us explore the idea that your loss was £6,200
POB now looking to see if this £6,200 or £6,825 discrepancy can be broken down...
POB it is a demonstration of the movement of cash in your branch.
We start with £8601 as the movement in cash...
J says £8601 or £1806
POB so sorry £1806.
POB The point I am putting, clumsily and and at great length is that there is not a discrepancy of £3600 - when you say there was a £3200 discrepancy that’s not correct is it
POB it’s a cash handling issue isn’t it?
POB so how are PO’s figures wrong?
A how do you know they’re right?
A goes into long explanation of how several post office staff agreed with him that there was a problem, that he escalated it
POB well I can’t respond to that because I can...
A I don’t want to cast aspersions as to Ms van den Bogerd but how do I know she just hasn’t made this up?
POB I have no further questions.
PGQC let’s just look at the entry on the helpline logs. "Emailed requesting credence reports. Office adamant stamps are declaring themselves - believed a system issue” Did they give you a credence report?
PGQC okay let’s follow that through… [we go to another doc]
“Office say they were advised a credence report was being submitted, but no report was requested…”
reads out internal notes which suggests the calls from the branch weren’t logged properly..
PG QC what did you think was happening
A that they were dealing with the problem and we’d get our Credence report
PG moves on...
Then down to a 3 august memo…
PG “ACKAA branch still waiting for call back, call closed, no details on call how in cash rem is deal with” Did you ever get the credence report?
A it did, yes.
[what appears to have happened to a number of witnesses over the last two days is that they have been suspended or sacked after some of the issues they were describing came to a head ie they got audited]
from what I understand is that your £6,200 discrepancy is within that discrepancy.
J okay lets go to the previous day. You were asked about the cash declaration of £34,405 and you were taken to another doc
J look on 22 Feb - two entries - cash discrepancies of £781 and £31. If I want to go away and compare like with like - should I look at the cash declaration AND the discrepancy for the following day?
Angela Burke is now called to the witness box.
She is sworn in.
Owain Draper for the Post Office is on his feet.
POB how long were you an SPM or an assistant.
AB since I was 16 on and off. 5 years as SPM and then 15 years as an assistant.
AB no - if you had a shortfall you’d try and investigate yourself.
POB so if you sometimes had a relatively substantial shortfall you’d sometimes get a TC come through to correct it.
AB usually yes
[POB goes to a document]
with the others, but once I sat down to study a Transaction Log that I had printed off I could see that the £180 and…"
£150 withdrawal was missing."
careful to take a printout of the balance snapshot prior to accepting the transaction correction and afterwards , in case anything went wrong when we accepted it."
POB the recovery fail receipt was printed at 0936 on 9 May 2015.
J you phoned the helpline after you closed the branch?
AB yep then I went and ran off the transaction log.
AB yep about 0934
POB you printed off this transaction log which we can see on the screen. You’ve ticked off the expected transaction and that the £150 withdrawal was missing
POB so you worked out quite quickly this had gone missing...
POB so by this time you knew you ahd a system outage, the session you were in had a problem because you had a receipt for it - you knew the recovery process had failed - you had a receipt for that and you had been able to ID from the log which transaction had no been...
AB okay fair enough
POB and you knew what the cause of the £150 shortfall would be - didn’t you?
AB I did have to study it though
J by the discrepancy do you mean ...
POB I was making the point that “no means” is not correct.
POB you could see the discrepancy by running a balance snapshot and you knew the money was missing.
POB let’s go through the call then
AB but I had already been given an authorised receipt and the customer had been told it was...
Supervisor goes on to tell her that customer should never be given money until transaction has gone through and that this is a nationwide problem that is being investigated… I can’t guarantee anything but we might be able to sort it out...
POB you accept you were told it was being investigated and you understood that
AB yes but they never said they’d come back to me or make a note of what was happening in my branch
AB there were no guarantees there were looking into it. they didn’t say they would