Post Office and Fujitsu Executives Face Parliamentary Grilling Over Horizon Scandal, MPs Seek Answers on Compensation for Victims

Campaigner Alan Bates to Speak

As repercussions from the Horizon scandal persist, executives from the Post Office and Fujitsu are slated to undergo questioning by Members of Parliament (MPs) today.

The Commons’ Business and Trade Committee will be inquiring into the matter, with Nick Read, CEO of the Post Office, and Paul Patterson, Europe director at Fujitsu, set to provide answers.

Alan Bates, the former subpostmaster who has been at the forefront of the campaign for justice in the Horizon scandal, will also be presenting his views during the committee hearing.

The scandal, involving faulty Horizon software from Fujitsu, led to over 700 staff receiving criminal convictions.

Government’s Response and Compensation Demands

The government, grappling to rectify the injustice and compensate victims, is facing increasing public anger, particularly after the broadcast of the ITV drama “Mr. Bates Vs The Post Office.” MPs aim to explore avenues for delivering compensation to those affected by what has been termed one of the gravest miscarriages of justice in British history.

Witnesses Set to Provide Evidence

Witnesses scheduled to give evidence include Mr. Bates, wrongfully convicted former subpostmistress Jo Hamilton, Nick Read, and Paul Patterson.

Kevin Hollinrake, the Post Office minister advocating for the prosecution of figures responsible for the scandal, is also expected to appear.

Focus on Fujitsu and Post Office Knowledge

The committee’s inquiry will focus on understanding the extent of Fujitsu and the Post Office’s awareness of issues with the Horizon system and the timeline of their knowledge.

Questions are likely to center around the role played by Fujitsu in assisting the Post Office with prosecutions.

Fast-Tracked Legislation and Compensation Offer

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently announced fast-tracked legislation to clear the names of those wrongly prosecuted, with potential clearance by the year-end. Compensations include £600,000 for those with quashed convictions and £75,000 for subpostmasters involved in group legal action.

Calls to bar Fujitsu from government contracts and pursue compensation payments from the firm have been voiced.

Examination of Horizon Software Issues

The Horizon software, introduced in 1999, faced criticism after numerous subpostmasters were prosecuted for apparent fund discrepancies.

In 2019, the High Court found “bugs, errors, and defects” in Horizon, emphasizing a “material risk” that system flaws led to shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts.

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