'The silence has been damning': Former sub-postmaster welcomes apology from Fujitsu

A former sub-postmaster from Manchester has welcomed an apology from the director of Fujitsu after he was accused of stealing money and forced to pay back £4,000.

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 700 Post Office staff were falsely prosecuted based on incorrect data from the firm's Horizon computer system which was developed by Fujitsu.

Andrew Hardman, a former sub-postmaster at Hebers Post Office in Middleton, says the false evidence which resulted in losing his job, stained his reputation.

He said: "The Post Office told people around this area that I had stolen money, so you know how does anyone feel like that if they've been accused like that and the people from the Post Office are in there laughing and joking in my business, it was horrendous, absolutely horrendous."

Speaking about Fujitsu, Andrew added: "I'm sure somebody knew there was obviously bugs or malfunctions with the system but why not come clean at that time, I think they knew from the very start this was not the right system for the Post Office."

He added: "The silence has been damning and I think it’s about time that they were all answerable."

As the inquiry into the Horizon scandal continues, Paul Patterson, Europe director of Fujitsu sat in from of the Business and Trade Committee to provide evidence.

Patterson said: "To the sub-postmasters and their families, Fujitsu would like to apologise for our part in this appalling miscarriage of justice.

“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 sub-postmasters. For that we are truly sorry."

Fujitsu say they believe contributing to the compensation packages for former sub-postmasters is a "moral obligation".