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Post Office’s ‘secret plans’ to sack Horizon IT reviewer as new documents reveal | UK | News


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New documents reveal the Post Office‘s “secret plans” to sack a Horizon IT reviewer.

According to the documents, in April 2014, bosses decided to fire forensic accountants who found bugs in the Horizon IT system.

The BBC reported that in an operation known as “Project Sparrow” a Post Office board sub-committee made the decision and that the government had full knowledge of it happening.

Following the revelation, campaigner and former sub-postmaster Alan Bates claimed it was proof of a total cover-up within the organisation.

The forensic accountants at the centre of Project Sparrow were from Second Sight, this group played an important role in bringing the scandal to light.

These accountants found bugs in the Horizon system that made it seem as if money was missing from the branches when it wasn’t leading to the wrongful convictions of several postmasters and postmistresses.

The plan to sack the accountants from Second Sight was revealed in the minutes of two separate Project Sparrow meetings that took place in the middle of 2014.

Furthermore, the documents also reveal that the Post Office intended to pay around £1million in “token payments” to some sub-postmasters when it was trying to suppress evidence of the bugs in 2014.

While the original version of the minutes was heavily redacted, the unredacted version of the meeting’s minutes have now been revealed and shows how the sub-committee intended to manipulate the situation.

Although Project Sparrow was one of the key operations during the scandal, details of it were not disclosed when sub-postmasters challenged their convictions in the courts between 2017 and 2019.

Speaking about the incident to the BBC, Alan Bates said: “It’s been a cover-up from start to finish. That’s coming out now.

“It’s undeniable. And this is what we’ve been up against all the way. We’ve always known they were covering up – it’s just been very difficult to find proof.”

In a statement following the reveal of Project Sparrow, a spokesperson for the Post Office said: “We never discuss individuals and it would be inappropriate to comment on allegations being made outside of the Inquiry, whose role it is to consider all of the evidence on the issues it is examining and independently reach conclusions.

“We fully share the Public Inquiry’s aims to get to the truth of what happened in the past and accountability.”

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