Government knew about ditched Horizon report

Report highlighted Horizon could be tampered with by Fujitsu two years before PO denial

Post Office sign
2016 review highlights Post Office knew about Fujitsu’s ability to remotely tamper with subpostmater’s accounts.

BBC News has revealed that ministers knew the Post Office ditched a report into the Horizon scandal back in 2016.

According to the multimedia news site, the government of the time – then led by the current foreign secretary David Cameron – were told of an investigation into Horizon system that could potentially have helped wrongly accused postmasters to clear their names.

The investigation was dropped in 2016 when legal action was brought against the Post Office by former subpostmasters at the time.

In February of the same year, a review on behalf of the then chairman of Post Office Limited (POL) Tim Parker revealed that POL knew that Fujistu could tamper with balancing transactions on the Horizon system. This report was published a full two years before the firm would go on to argue that such a thing was impossible in court.

A 2016 review highlighted that Fujitsu had the ability to change account balances remotely which the Post Office was informed of at the time.

Parker then sent a letter the following March to Baroness Neville-Rolfe – a junior minister in Cameron’s government at the time – outlining the Post Office had commissioned independent individuals to investigate claims that “branch accounts might have been remotely altered without complainants’ knowledge”.

Parker then told the Government in June that the investigation had been dropped following legal action from subpostmasters.

This further follows on from accusations that the Post Office had purposefully misled government officials over the Horizon investigation.

On 16 January, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC claimed the Post Office misled the Scottish Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal during an investigation into the shortcomings of the Horizon system.

This subsequently led to the wrongful prosecution of subpostmasters across Scotland.

Bain said: “As an investigating agency, the Post Office must act fairly, and this includes an obligation to reveal to prosecutors all material which may be relevant to the issue of whether the accused is innocent or guilty.

“It is clear that the Post Office failed in its duty of revelation and as a result some individuals were prosecuted when they should not have been.

“I am very deeply troubled by what has occurred, and I remain acutely concerned that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service was repeatedly misled by the Post Office.  Assurances which were just not true were repeatedly given.”