Former Fujitsu CEO, Roger Gilbert, has revealed to the BBC that the prosecution of sub-postmasters was only discussed once during his tenure from 2009 to 2012. He stated that he was reassured by the Horizon team that the Post Office was handling the prosecutions “competently and honestly”. Gilbert expressed shock at the actions of the Post Office and offered sympathy to the victims of the scandal and their families.
Gilbert, who led Fujitsu’s UK and Ireland business from 2009 to 2011 and served as chairman for another year before retiring in 2012, provided his first detailed comments on the Horizon scandal to the BBC via email. He expressed confidence that a public inquiry into the scandal would provide more insight than his limited visibility of Horizon operations could offer.
During Gilbert’s tenure, the Post Office was securing convictions of approximately 50 cases annually, accusing sub-postmasters of stealing money that appeared missing due to faults in Fujitsu’s Horizon computer system. Gilbert stated that he was not aware of Computer Weekly’s campaign investigating the scandal, but did recall an article in another journal referencing a dispute between the Post Office and several sub-postmasters.
Gilbert also acknowledged that he knew Horizon had glitches, but understood that details of these bugs were shared with the Post Office. He is not among the former Fujitsu bosses asked to give evidence at the statutory Horizon Inquiry. Regarding Fujitsu employees giving evidence in court, Gilbert stressed the need for businesses to review their implementation of corporate risk management to avoid involvement in unsafe prosecutions.