Fujitsu нарэшце прыносіць прабачэнні праз Horizon і абяцае кампенсаваць ахвярам паштовага аддзялення | Вялікабрытанія | Навіны

Fujitsu нарэшце прыносіць прабачэнні праз Horizon і абяцае кампенсаваць ахвярам паштовага аддзялення | Вялікабрытанія | Навіны

general view of sign outside a Fujitsu office

general view of sign outside a Fujitsu office (Фота: Getty)

Fujitsu finally apologised for the Horizon post office scandal and admitted it has a « moral obligation » to contribute to the compensation scheme for victims.

Paul Patterson, the IT giant’s Europe director, said he was “truly sorry” on behalf of the company, which developed the faulty software that ruined the lives of hundreds of sub-postmasters.

He added the Post Office knew about « bugs and errors » in Horizon early on.

His remarks came moments after subpostmaster campaigner Alan Bates claimed victims of the Horizon scandal had a “financial gun held to their head” by the Post Office.

Mr Bates told the Commons’ Business and Trade Committee that the compensation scheme for those affected by the nightmare is “tied up in bureaucracy” and that it was “frustrating” for those involved.

The Government has been scrambling to exonerate them and pay out compensation to those affected, with public anger rising after ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office cast a new light on the scandal.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 900 sub-postmasters and postmistresses were prosecuted for theft and false accounting after money appeared to be missing from their branches, but the prosecutions were based on evidence from faulty Horizon software.

Some sub-postmasters wrongfully went to prison, many were financially ruined. Some have since died.

It has been described as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British history, but to date only 93 convictions have been overturned and thousands of people are still waiting for compensation settlements more than 20 years on.

Appearing before the committee, Mr Patterson said: “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. »

He went onto say that the company has a « moral obligation » to contribute to the compensation scheme for those affected by the scandal – many of whom lost their homes and were financially ruined.

He said that he has spoken to the company’s bosses in Japan and it expects to have a conversation with the government about how much compensation it should pay.

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

Asked if staff knew before 2010 that there were bugs in the system, he said that was for the inquiry into the scandal to establish – but his « gut feeling » is that this was the case.

He acknowledged the firm gave evidence which helped send innocent people to prison.

He added: « 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. »

Mr Patterson said he did not know why the company didn’t act when it knew there were glitches in the system.

« I don’t know, I really don’t know, » he said.

Nick Read, the chief executive of the Post Office, was slammed by the committee for having not provided information to the committee with key events in the timeline – such as when the Post Office first knew that remote access to sub-postmasters’ Horizon systems was possible.

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« You must surely have had time in four years [since joining the Post Office] to cut to the heart of this issue, which is: when did the Post Office know remote access to terminals was possible? » said Labour MP Liam Byrne, chair of the committee.

« I couldn’t give you an exact date on that, » replied Mr Read.

When prosecutions were taking place, Fujitsu had told the Post Office that no-one apart from sub-postmasters themselves could access or alter Horizon records – meaning the blame for mistakes could only rest with sub-postmasters, but that turned out to be untrue.

Earlier former subpostmasters Alan Bates and Jo Hamilton, told MPs of their despair over the scandal.

Mr Bates, on whom the ITV series centred, said he was frustrated that it was taking so long to get compensation for those who were wronged.

“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,” he said.

Explaining how the scandal was allowed to happen Mr Bates said a lot of subpostmasters felt there was a “financial gun held to their head if they start kicking off or start raising too many problems with the Post Office”.

Ms Hamilton, a sub-postmaster who was wrongly convicted and who described the process of getting compensation as “nonsense”.

She told MPs: “It’s almost like you’re a criminal all over again, you’ve got to justify everything – forensic reports for this and forensic reports for that and you put it into the machine and months later it comes back with a query.”

Neil Hudgell, a solicitor representing 400 people directly affected by the scandal and 77 sub-postmasters wrongly convicted by the Post Office, told MPs that just three people had been paid full and final compensation.

He said layers of bureaucracy, along with certain requests by the Post Office, were causing problems in victims securing financial redress.

In some cases he said requests had been made for documents that were held in Post Office branches that clients had been locked out of some 15 to 20 years ago.

Гэты артыкул упершыню з'явіўся на АНГЛІЙСКАЙ мове https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1856329/fujitsu-horizon-scandal-apologises


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