Written evidence submitted by Gowri Jayakanthan (POH0012)

Dear Honourable MP Ms. Rachel Reeves,

Re: Post Office shortage case/ Putney Post Office /shortage of £179,000

Today morning when I watched your interview at BBC breakfast, I had a light in my heart and I realised that, you will hear my case too.

It was exactly same day 4th March 2005, the post office run by my deceased husband was sealed.

I still can remember the day and the subsequent events happened on that day. I am a Sri Lankan Chartered Accountant married and came to UK in 2000. Then, I worked for an accountancy firm called Tax Link Chartered Accountants. In between, I had my first baby Sanjeeevan in 2001 and Anjailie in 2003.

When I got married, my husband was running three corner shops in Earls Court, Victoria and in Sutton. During this period we were living in New Malden.

After having my second child, I formed a company to start a small accountancy practice, since I got the practicing certificate from Institute of Financial Accountants in UK.

However, as a handful mother, I delayed in starting the accountancy practice and my husband took the company to buy the post office.

Several times, I told him, I will not be able to involve in the business as the children were small and he is busy with his businesses.

However, he took the company and bought Putney Post Office. For that, we took business loan from Natwest Bank and borrowed £120,000.

Again, he was about to buy another in Edgware on Franchise from the same owner, but which never officially happened until the date. But he was running up and down on the road to get the other one too.

 

What happened on the 4th March 2005 (still in front of me as a live dream)

As usual I dropped my son in the school and came home and was busy with my second child as she was an Asthmatic child and whom I had to monitor very closely. I always at Kingston hospital on every other day for her to go into Nebulizer.

Between 1pm - 3pm on the 4th March 2005, two officers came from post office and told me that, they have to take some files from our office room and our post offices were sealed as there were big shortage in the post office. I did allow them to come inside and asked where is my husband? They said he is under investigations.

As the day went on, I tried to contact him few times, but his phone was switched off. I went to pick my son from Home Field Preparatory School in Sutton and took care of both children. As a busy young mum, I was doing my usual things with my children.

It was the birthday of one of my nephews on the 4th of March who was living just two lanes away from our house in New Malden and we were invited for a small get together on the same day.

I was waiting for my husband and around 7.30 to 8.30pm, I was getting ready to go to their house as he has not returned as yet.

When we got into our car, I saw my husband parking his car and I asked his what happened, and he said nothing everything is sorted, and he will join me at the party. Then I gave the house key to him and said see you there. That was my last conversation with him.

We were in the party and he never turned up for the party. As it was getting late, myself and his brother called him and no answer from him.

We went and the door was locked inside, and he has not opened the door for us. So, we had to break the door and went inside calling him and looking for him in everywhere.

But sadly, we found he took his own life in the loft room. I was shocked and inactive. With my little memory I remembered we called the police and ambulance that`s all.

Later, full of relatives at home throughout the night and I was not slept for three days as continuously crying.

Next day, I heard, post office people came home and took all documents including all our bank statements.

As the post-mortem and the funeral held after a week or two again, I received letters from post office for shortages.

My parents came from Sri Lanka and that was a bit of a strength for me as all others were slowly got out of us, even his own brothers. It was only my Father in law and my father and eldest brother of my husband was in my side.

 

I was invited for investigations at Croydon Post Office Investigation Office and gave my full support to Mr. EDRIAN MORRIS who was a key investigation officer.

Later only I found, post office should not have realised him alone as the investigation was not over on that day the 4th of March.

 

How can the post office investigation officers allow my husband to come out without concluding the investigations? If so, one of the officers should have accompanied with him. Poor my husband has not given enough chance to proof his side and took his own life.

 

Personal Financial Implications for myself

Apart from the financial losses mentioned below, I had lost all my close relatives who does not know what happened.

First financial loss is, I had to settle NatWest loan taken to buy the post office, this was as a life partner of my deceased husband.

      I had to re - mortgage the house in 137, Lawrence Avenue New Malden a market value of £350,000 in 2005 and the proceeds from that was used as part of settlement.

      I had to sell my Jewelleries worth of £14,000 (Traditional Indian Jewelleries given by my parent for my weddings).

      Sell a property in Sri Lanka to settle the loan in full.

      I lost the shop in Heart of Earls Court which was taken under 21year lease from the landlord with the lease hold value of £250,000

      In 2008, because my children were small, I went to Sri Lanka to get my family help and borrowed money from banks under Professional category and still have some outstanding balance of £15,000 to £20,000.

      Came back to UK in 2015 with the help of my father in law for the betterment of my children AND  we are living in Liverpool.

      And my poor father in law passed away in December 2015 and I felt as my right hand is broken.

      Again, I went for high interest lenders as my children were studying for GCSE and Six form in 2016 -2018.

      I am still settling those loans.

      My father is 85-year-old and I want to go and see him but have no money for holidays.

 

All what I can see in my life is ignorance of the post office auditors and the post office investigation officers has drastically affected mine and my children whole life.

My husband would have had a chance to proof him self if a proper chance was given to him.

As a qualified Sri Lankan Chartered Accountant, I have managed mine and my children life for great extent.

 

All I asked you is a justice for me and my children on the financial loss suffered by us. There is no one is going to help unless the post office accept their negligence of releasing him before the investigation was fully over.

 

Please do contact me for any details required to complete this my earnest request.

 

I am attaching all evidence for your kind perusal.

 

 

             Thanking You

Yours Faithfully

 

             Gowri Jayakanthan

 

March 2020