The architect of the faulty Horizon IT system, who gave evidence used to convict sub-postmasters, has demanded immunity before agreeing to appear at the public inquiry.
Gareth Jenkins, who is understood to have been instrumental in developing the software as a senior computer engineer at Fujitsu, is under police investigation over his role in the Post Office scandal.
Tracked down by The Telegraph to his home in Berkshire, Mr Jenkins, 69, said, when asked if he was sorry for what had happened: “I don’t want to talk. I don’t have anything to say to you.”
Cannot be used against him
Mr Jenkins has twice sought a guarantee that any testimony he gives to the inquiry cannot be used against him in any possible prosecution and his testimony has also been delayed twice.
On Tuesday, Paula Vennells, the former Post Office chief executive who presided over the scandal, said she was handing back her CBE and she was “truly sorry for the devastation” wreaked on sub-postmasters wrongly prosecuted and convicted. It also emerged that in 2017 she was considered for the role of Bishop of London.
Mrs Vennells said in a statement: “I have so far maintained my silence as I considered it inappropriate to comment publicly while the inquiry remains ongoing and before I have provided my oral evidence.
“I am, however, aware of the calls from sub-postmasters and others to return my CBE. I have listened and I confirm that I return my CBE with immediate effect.”
Adam Crozier, the CEO of Royal Mail between 2003 and 2010 when it owned the Post Office, also issued a statement saying he felt “deeply sorry for those whose lives were ruined by what happened” but denied any involvement.
Sir Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader who was the Post Office minister at the time, is now under pressure to return his knighthood.
Prosecutions brought by the CPS
The Telegraph can also disclose that at least 27 prosecutions were brought by the Crown Prosecution service – as opposed to the Post Office – raising serious questions about whether Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, oversaw a number of wrongful convictions during his five-year tenure as director of public prosecutions between 2008 and 2013.
Mr Jenkins had been due to give evidence to the public inquiry twice. But in each occasion it was postponed including as recently as November 2023, when the Post Office disclosed 3,045 documents on the evening before he was due to give evidence. Sources have speculated that the release of the documents was timed to prevent Mr Jenkins giving evidence.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed last week it was investigating “matters concerning Fujitsu Horizon and the Post Office… into potential offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice”.