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Fujitsu ‘told Post Office of Horizon glitches’ at ‘early stages’, boss claims | UK | News UK News

The Post Office were made aware of glitches in the Horizon system “at an early stage”, the boss of Fujitsu has said. Paul Patterson has said he is not aware why his company did not take action despite knowing there were glitches in the Horizon system.

Mr Patterson apologised to subpostmasters as he appeared before MPs today (Tuesday, January 16).

It comes as Alan Bates and other campaigners blamed red tape and bureaucracy amid anger over delays for subpostmasters accessing compensation.

When asked why Fujitsu did not take action despite being made aware of the issues, he told MPs on the Business and Trade Committee: “I don’t know. I really don’t know. On a personal level I wish I did know. Following my appointment in 2019 I’ve looked back at those situations for the company and the evidence I’ve seen, and I just don’t know.

“What I do know is the inquiry is looking at this very point of who knew what and when, and the action they did or did not take to draw attention to the concerns. I just don’t know.”

He added that he did not know exactly when bosses first knew of issues related to the Horizon IT software, but that it had bugs at a “very early stage”.

When asked when management first knew of issues, Mr Patterson said: “I can’t answer a month or a year. There were known bugs and errors in the system at a very early stage.

“I know there were bugs and errors when it was rolled out; in large IT projects there were will always be some bugs and errors, particularly of this scale. The important thing is what do we do with that information.

“Did we share that information with the Post Office? Yes, we did.” 

Mr Patterson has been in his current role since 2019 but has worked for Fujitsu since 2010.

Mr Read took over at the Post Office in September 2019, after the scandal emerged, and last year handed back around £54,000 in bonus payments linked to the firm’s co-operation with the public inquiry into the crisis.

The Commons Business and Trade Committee is examining what more can be done to deliver compensation for victims of what has been labelled one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British history.

Earlier Alan Bates, the campaigning former subpostmaster at the centre of the ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office, told MPs that compensation was “bogged down” and the pace of processing claims was “madness”.

Wrongfully convicted former subpostmistress Jo Hamilton said it was “almost like you’re being retried … it just goes on and on and on”.

Solicitor Neil Hudgell told MPs only three of his former subpostmaster clients who had been criminally convicted had received compensation.

He said: “Within the convicted cohort of clients that we have, of the 73, three have been fully paid out.”

He told the Business and Trade Committee: “It sounds perverse to say this, but I’m not sure that enough resources are thrown at it in terms of the right results into the right areas.

“For example, routinely with the overturned conviction cases it’s taking three to four months to get a response to routine correspondence.”

Post Office boss Nick Read appeared to concede that the organisation could face liabilities of around £1 billion due to the Horizon scandal and related compensation claims.

The £1 billion figure was put to Mr Read during his appearance in front of the Business and Trade Committee.

He began by saying he did not recognise the figure but, pressed again said: “I think what has been done in the last 10 days in terms of the potential to mass exonerate, that is going to obviously generate a lot of people coming forward.”

Asked for an assessment of the £1 billion estimate, he said: “I think it’s unlikely to be that size, but it may well be.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-16 12:33:00

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