HC Deb 15 May 1899 vol 71 cc601-2
MR. DUNCOMBE (Cumberland, Egremont)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster-General, whether the gentleman recently appointed a British Postmaster at Constantinople is the same gentleman who, while postmaster at Kingston-on-Thames and Lincoln, was reported for serious irregularities with regard to his official cash, and transferred from the latter office in consequence of the serious nature of such irregularities; and, upon what grounds he has now been rewarded by being selected over the heads of others with good records and longer service.


The gentleman appointed British Postmaster at Constanti- nople, who has rendered good service in the Post Office for nearly 30 years, is the same official who, after holding the Postmastership of Kingston-on-Thames for some years, was promoted to be Postmaster of Lincoln. The Postmaster-General informs me that he was not concerned in "serious irregularities" at Kingston, as stated in the question, but, that he was concerned in a single irregularity which occurred at Lincoln under very exceptional circumstances, and that that was suitably noticed at the time. He was afterwards transferred to another office at his own request, and not in consequence, I understand, of this irregularity. He has now been appointed to Constantinople on the ground that his qualifications for the position were, in the Postmaster-General's opinion, superior to those of any one of the other candidates who offered themselves.


Can the right honourable Gentleman say whether the irregularity in question did not consist of his using momentarily a large portion of official cash?


What did happen was this, and although it was not a case of fraud I did look on it as a case of serious irregularity. It was discovered when he was on leave of absence that about £150 of Government property which should have been represented by hard cash, was only represented by a cheque drawn by the postmaster.