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Post Office scandal: Fujitsu announces it will compensate Horizon victims | UK | News UK News

Japanese technology firm Fujitsu has said it plans to compensate sub-postmasters wronged in the Post Office Horizon scandal. The company has been under pressure in recent weeks following the release of the ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office which highlighted the scandal triggering a massive spike in interest from the public.

In a statement on Thursday, the company said: “The Fujitsu Group regards this matter with the utmost seriousness and offers its deepest apologies to the sub-postmasters and their families.

“The UK statutory public inquiry, to which our UK subsidiary is providing full cooperation, is examining complex events that have unfolded over many years, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to this cooperation.

“Based on the findings of the inquiry, we will also be working with the UK government on the appropriate actions, including contribution to compensation.”

It added: “The Fujitsu Group hopes for a swift resolution that ensures a just outcome for the victims.”

The reason Fujitsu is in the spotlight is because it developed the Horizon software involved in the controversy which caused hundreds of sub-postmistresses and sub-postmasters to be unjustly prosecuted for stealing.

The Horizon software was first deployed by the Post Office in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the software was found to be at fault rather than the Post Office employees.

Earlier this week, Fujitsu Europe’s boss Paul Patterson admitted the company had a “moral obligation” to compensate victims of the scandal. Soon after, the global chief of Fujitsu, Takhito Tokita, apologised in Davos.

Mr Tokita told the BBC: “This is a big issue, which Fujitsu takes very seriously. Yes, of course. Fujitsu has apologised for the impact on the postmasters’ lives and their families.”

In London, Mr Patterson said he was “truly sorry” for the damage done to the lives of the victims because of the faulty software. He added that Horizon had known about the “bugs and errors” early on.

He admitted: “We were involved from the very start. We did have bugs and errors in the system and we did help the Post Office in their prosecutions of the sub-postmasters.

“For that, we are truly sorry.”

Mr Patterson also revealed that the firm gave evidence which contributed to innocent Post Office employees going to prison. He explained: “The information shared with the Post Office as part of our contract with them was very clear – the Post Office also knew there were bugs and errors.”

As to why Fujitsu didn’t act at the time when it knew there were glitches in Horizon, Mr Patterson said he didn’t know.

Campaigner Alan Bates, who has fought for justice for the innocent Post Office employees said it was taking too long for compensation to make its way to victims who were suffering and dying.

He said: “There’s no reason why full financial redress shouldn’t have been delivered by now. It’s gone on for far too long, people are suffering, they’re dying – we’re losing numbers along the way – and it just seems to be tied up in bureaucracy.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-18 11:43:00

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