§ MR. CUNINGHAME GRAHAM
I beg to ask the Postmaster General whether it is true, as stated in a letter dated 13th May, 1890, and signed by W. Harris Nicolas, as chief clerk to the Exchequer and Audit Department, that, under an agreement entered into between the Right Honourable H. C. Raikes, M.P., as Postmaster General, and Sir Charles Lister Ryan, the Auditor General, all vouchers relative to Post Office accounts to the year 1881–2 inclusive have been destroyed; and whether he will consent to furnish the litigants in the actions of William Hind v. the Right Honourable W. H. Smith, as the First Lord of the Treasury and others, 1888, Joseph Steer Christopher v. the same, and William Hind v. the Postmaster General, with verified copies of such vouchers for £8,000,000, and also allow them or their agents to inspect the books and documents of the Electric and International Telegraph Company and the United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company?
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
It is the fact that all Post Office accounts and vouchers for the year 1881–2 have been destroyed. As regards the retention of Post Office accounts and 1275 vouchers at the Audit Office, the only requirement of the Post Office is that they shall not be destroyed within six years, the period fixed by the Statute of Limitations. This requirement was communicated to the Comptroller and Auditor General in 1880, on the advice of the solicitor to the Department, and has since been maintained.