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Post Office Horizon scandal

The Post Office scandal has been brought to the public’s attention by the excellent ITV drama ‘Mr Bates Versus the Post Office’. Although I was aware of the scandal, the programme highlighted that this is one of the biggest miscarriages of justice the UK has ever seen, with a cover-up on a huge scale.

There has been a lot of discussion in the media about the Post Office’s role in prosecuting innocent people, making them pay back huge sums of money that they didn’t owe, wrecking lives, and covering up the mistakes, when they knew there was a problem with the Horizon system. However there has been less coverage of Fujitsu’s part in all of this.

The people whose lives were wrecked by the actions of the Post Office, deserve large compensation payments, however as the Post Office is wholly owned by the taxpayer, we will all have to pay for this. Fujitsu must not be allowed to get away with their part, as the Horizon system provided by them was faulty and they were allegedly remotely accessing the Horizon system without the knowledge of the sub-postmasters.

Fujitsu should be made to pay compensation, but successive Governments seem reluctant to take legal action against them, after they successfully sued the NHS. After repeated delays and failure to deliver the promised product, the NHS terminated its contract with Fujitsu in 2008. The Japanese company sued and won the case in 2014, which cost the UK government £700m. There was another IT failure with the system put into the Magistrates' Courts

Fujitsu are STILL being awarded Government contracts and their contract with the Post Office was extended to 2025. The following article was published on the BBC website in September 2022 and highlights some of the failures of Fujitsu IT systems, but since then, yet more contracts have been awarded by the Government to Fujitsu.

I hope that the current Public Inquiry into the Post Office Scandal also looks at Fujitsu’s role so that they may be forced to pay compensation instead of the taxpayer.

I’ve also provided links to articles that report on the major Tory donor Simon Blagden, who was Chairman of Fujitsu UK, which sued the NHS after it wanted to pull out of another failed IT system provided by Fujitsu. Simon Blagdon was also made a member of the UKHSA advisory board in April 2022. I sincerely hope that the cronyism that is rife at the heart of the UK establishment, will not stop Fujitsu being made to pay for their numerous errors. We need individuals who were aware of the cover-up to be prosecuted and punished for their role in this awful miscarriage of justice.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-61020075

https://news.sky.com/story/may-risks-cronyism-row-as-tory-donor-eyes-trade-minister-job-11743714

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/may/06/labour-question-tories-cronyism-row-donors-public-health-jobs-nhs 


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    Signed
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    Great post and thread -starter @ME14addick .

    For those not already aware of it, there is a petition to strip Paula Vennells of her CBE. Alan Bates has been awarded an OBE, but refuses to accept it until Vennells is stripped of hers. I just checked in on it having signed it last week when it was at 30k. It has now reached 882,000!!. So clearly the goal must be to reach a million, that makes a strong political statement.

    All that said, this is just the start. IMO. She and, importantly, all the key senior management involved with Horizon should be investigated with a view to criminal charges.  There is a full Public Inquiry underway now, 14 years after Alan Bates demanded it, and that will facilitate such charges. Not least because the Met Police have apparently already started an investigation for potential fraud, but left to their own devices I wouldn't currently trust them to crack it. And I'm not sure that fraud is the only possible charge, but I'm not a lawyer.

    Speaking of lawyers the FT published a very good article a week ago shedding light on the lawyers involved on both sides. Something of interest for @Jints among others.
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    The FT article is behind a paywall.
    Don't know if someone can post it as text?
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    R0TW said:
    Thank you for posting this, it shows just what a tangled web there is in this saga. Ordinary people need to be informed of the huge amount of corruption and cronyism that allows those at the top to get away with so much. Paula Vennells is an example of someone being rewarded for failure, she must be stripped of her CBE and I hope the petition grows even bigger and results in that happening.

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    Other than the cover up and false imprisonment is the fact, that it is only now after a TV drama that the police are investigating and looking for evidence to charge people.
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    This was an absolutely awful period for the 100’s of people who lost their reputations, businesses and money. It is sad that it has taken a TV drama to highlight the scandal.
    Those responsible should be held to account via criminal prosecution but unfortunately justice is too late for many who suffered at their attempt to cover things up
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    The healing scheme is administered by the Post Office.
    A prime example of marking your own homework.
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    Signed the petition to strip Vennells of her title earlier this week, glad it’s gained momentum.

    Thing that angers me the most is I’d not heard a thing on this until this brilliant drama. Why had so few investigative journos / producers not wanted to go big on it until now?  

    A complete aside, but through all our years of alternative ownership, investigative journalists were so wary or plain unwilling to take risks and dive into it, particularly during the Southall/ Niemer period of nonsense. Always thought our press had a bit more gravitas about it but that just doesn’t seem the case anymore. 

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    Signed the petition to strip Vennells of her title earlier this week, glad it’s gained momentum.

    Thing that angers me the most is I’d not heard a thing on this until this brilliant drama. Why had so few investigative journos / producers not wanted to go big on it until now?  

    A complete aside, but through all our years of alternative ownership, investigative journalists were so wary or plain unwilling to take risks and dive into it, particularly during the Southall/ Niemer period of nonsense. Always thought our press had a bit more gravitas about it but that just doesn’t seem the case anymore. 

    That shocks me to be honest as been reported on for years. So much so, that I couldn’t be bothered to watch the programme. 

    Bit like the Hillsborough drama’s was too fatigued with the storyline to watch even though probably very worthy 
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    R0TW said:
    Thank you for posting this, it shows just what a tangled web there is in this saga. Ordinary people need to be informed of the huge amount of corruption and cronyism that allows those at the top to get away with so much. Paula Vennells is an example of someone being rewarded for failure, she must be stripped of her CBE and I hope the petition grows even bigger and results in that happening.

    Not just her CBE. Whatever pension she accrued in that role should be stripped from her too and put towards the compensation for her victims. No reward without responsibility - too many of these useless bastards get off Scot free. Her part in this should mean she never works again a senior role, but bet your boots some crony throws another six figure job at her (I've done no research, by the way).
    Fujitsu should also be pursued for a massive contribution, then blacklisted for government work for a number of years, otherwise it's mugs like us who end up footing the bill, as usual.
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    Off_it said:
    Just one further thought I had though. We've heard about how this glitch in the computer system would invent fictitious losses, that were just untrue.

    But I haven't heard anything to say that the same glitch also produced fictitious profits in some instances, meaning people paid less. Were the errors only ever in one direction?

    If they were then this would make the whole thing stink even more.
    That’s a very good question. Didn’t the drama show Bates getting a huge alleged shortfall message the day after he won some important victory? 

    Mind you, does anyone ever remember a utility bill that was clearly wrong on the downside ( they asked you  for less than you thought you should pay).? I ask this as someone who recently eventually saw an 80% reduction in a final bill from SSE for the gas ( in my London house that lay empty for 8 months before the sale went through) only thanks to the Ofgem Ombudsman.  I’ve been under-charged occasionally in smaller shops and restaurants ( and nearly always pointed it out) but bigger companies with opaque bills ( generally utility companies) ? Nah. Funny, that.
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    MrOneLung said:
    Signed the petition to strip Vennells of her title earlier this week, glad it’s gained momentum.

    Thing that angers me the most is I’d not heard a thing on this until this brilliant drama. Why had so few investigative journos / producers not wanted to go big on it until now?  

    A complete aside, but through all our years of alternative ownership, investigative journalists were so wary or plain unwilling to take risks and dive into it, particularly during the Southall/ Niemer period of nonsense. Always thought our press had a bit more gravitas about it but that just doesn’t seem the case anymore. 

    That shocks me to be honest as been reported on for years. So much so, that I couldn’t be bothered to watch the programme. 

    Bit like the Hillsborough drama’s was too fatigued with the storyline to watch even though probably very worthy 
      You're dealing with a different animal here onelung.

    AFKA has been waxing lyrical  about a new series he discovered a few weeks back called Steptoe and Son.

    ;-)
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    The following article is from Computer Weekly who started the investigation into Horizon. The article was published in 2021, but gives a timeline of events.

    https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252509066/Fujitsu-escaped-huge-lawsuit-because-Post-Office-behaved-so-badly-in-Horizon-scandal
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    Signed the petition to strip Vennells of her title earlier this week, glad it’s gained momentum.

    Thing that angers me the most is I’d not heard a thing on this until this brilliant drama. Why had so few investigative journos / producers not wanted to go big on it until now?  

    A complete aside, but through all our years of alternative ownership, investigative journalists were so wary or plain unwilling to take risks and dive into it, particularly during the Southall/ Niemer period of nonsense. Always thought our press had a bit more gravitas about it but that just doesn’t seem the case anymore. 

    Since Roger Cook got too old investigative journalism has come to a virtual halt in my opinion.
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    Shrew said:
    I find it quite incredible that Fujitsu are getting away without much criticism when it was there workforces allegedly changing all the figures.
    I do too, that is one of the reasons I started this thread. It beggars belief that they continue to get lucrative contracts, when so many of their systems have been faulty.

    Cronyism and rewards for failure happen too often in this country and it needs to stop. I hope that more people will become angry at this and demand change.
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    LenGlover said:
    Signed the petition to strip Vennells of her title earlier this week, glad it’s gained momentum.

    Thing that angers me the most is I’d not heard a thing on this until this brilliant drama. Why had so few investigative journos / producers not wanted to go big on it until now?  

    A complete aside, but through all our years of alternative ownership, investigative journalists were so wary or plain unwilling to take risks and dive into it, particularly during the Southall/ Niemer period of nonsense. Always thought our press had a bit more gravitas about it but that just doesn’t seem the case anymore. 

    Since Roger Cook got too old investigative journalism has come to a virtual halt in my opinion.
    That man had balls of steel!

    For what it's worth I wasn't aware of it either. Could the Horizon employees be pocketing the money themselves? 
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    ...It has now reached 882,000!!...
    Signed. It's now up to 902,513. That's about 10,000 an hour. Should make a million quite easily I'd have thought. 
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    edited January 7


    https://www.theregister.com/2024/01/04/fujitsu_flood_contract_extension/?ref=biztoc.com

    Fujitsu wins flood contract extension despite starring in TV drama about its failures

    Deal expanded from £4.5M to £19.5M over 7 years as critics point to shortcomings
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    N01R4M said:
    Just before Christmas the BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-67784706 broke the news that
     "The Post Office has cut the size of the compensation pot it set aside to pay branch managers wrongly convicted of theft and false accounting by half.  Its annual accounts show it has now set aside £244m, down from £487m last year."

    I thought at the time that this implied the Post Office were confident that many of the Horizon postmasters and mistresses would not be receiving compensation.  Let's hope recent developments mean their confidence was misplaced.  Or that they see a way of getting Fujitsu to cough up -although I won't hold my breath for that!

    Actually, the BBC has broadcast a lot about this scandal - a long series of 20+ Radio 4 programs "The Great Post Office Trial" (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/m000jf7j), and 3 editions of Panorama - but the ITV drama has clearly got through to a different audience, which is good - the more publicity the better.

    Much of this has been driven by a freelance journalist, Nick Wallis https://www.postofficescandal.uk/about/ who has largely relied on crowdfunding.
    Probably going to string it out even longer so more die off.
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    Not a lot about the Board of Governors out there. Who were they? What are their links to the Cabinet, Government, Tory party etc. 
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