Today, the UK government is scheduled to test a new emergency alert system. Fujitsu, who is still under inquiry for the British Post Office Horizon Scandal, was awarded a contract to help develop the system.
Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom who has been campaigning for 13 years to ensure the sub-postmasters receive justice asked in the House of Lords why Fujitsu had been granted the contract and other peers questioned the morality of awarding Fujitsu the contract while the Post Office inquiry was pending.
In 1996, International Computers Limited (ICL), part of Fujitsu, began working on a computer accounting system called Horizon for the government-owned British Post Office. In 1999, the problems began with Horizon’s introduction which wrongly detected the existence of financial discrepancies at multiple post office branches and resulted in criminal convictions or bankruptcies for hundreds of branch managers.
The Post Office prosecuted 736 people using evidence from the Horizon system over a 15-year period from 2000. Many were sent to prison and many more were wrongfully convicted for crimes they did not commit. It is a scandal which – often referred to as the widest miscarriage of justice in UK history – saw lives ruined as sub-postmasters were blamed and punished for unexplained accounting shortfalls caused by errors in the Post Office’s computer system.
- British Post Office Scandal, Wikipedia
- Post Office scandal – “cock-up or cook-up”? Computer Weekly, 7 December 2022
Read more: Fujitsu caused the Post Office Horizon Scandal and now has been helping to develop the UK government’s emergency alert system