A former postmaster has told STV News that he ploughed £38,000 of his own money into the scandal-hit Horizon system after money appeared to go missing from the books for months.
Sardar Singh Lalli and his family ran a successful post office in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire.
Until the Horizon system was brought in, he said the balance sheets were only ever a penny or two short.
“How can I steal from my own business? Nobody does that. It’s like stealing from your own pocket. Nobody does that,” he told STV News.
Mr Singh Lalli began to notice money missing from the tills and despite flagging the issue, was told to “make it good”.
“Money started missing, £3,000, £4,000 every week. I phoned them straight away, they said, ‘put it back, make it good, put from your own pocket’.
“So, I make it good a good, the next week, money is short again, the week after, money is short again, several months later and money is short.”
In total, Mr Singh Lalli put £38,000 of his own money into the tills to make up for the dodgy accounting software.
It left him unwilling to leave the house and destroyed his reputation.
“None of the postmen came to see me. I feel very guilty about myself. I didn’t do the thing and they made me guilty,” he said.
“I feel very, very sorry and they let me down.”
Mr Singh Lalli says he is still waiting for compensation after being wrongly accused of stealing from his own tills.
His ordeal comes as Scotland’s top prosecutor admitted at Holyrood that the justice system failed those impacted by the Horizon scandal.
On Tuesday, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC told ministers she was “deeply troubled” by the scandal, which saw the Crown Office – Scotland’s prosecution service – halt proceedings based on the system in 2015.
This was despite repeated assurances from the Post Office of no issues with Horizon and was more than two years after prosecutors were first made aware.
Ms Bain said: “I am very deeply troubled by what has occurred, and I remain acutely concerned that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service was repeatedly misled by the Post Office.
“Assurances which were just not true were repeatedly given.
“To those wrongfully convicted, I understand your anger and I apologise for the way you have been failed by trusted institutions and the criminal justice system and I stand beside you in your pursuit of justice.”
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