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Cameron government knew Post Office ditched Horizon IT investigation

The Cameron administration was aware that the Post Office had aborted a covert probe possibly crucial for the defense of accused sub-postmasters, according to the BBC.
This 2016 inquiry, which scoured records dating back 17 years, was aimed at determining the frequency and reasons for remote manipulations of the Horizon IT system's cash accounts.

Despite being informed of the investigation, the government didn't intervene when it was halted amid legal action by postmasters. Evidence suggests that the Post Office was cognizant of Fujitsu's ability to interfere with sub-postmaster accounts via remote access, a fact it later denied in court.

The BBC discovered the concealed investigation through government documents accessed via the Freedom of Information Act. These papers track back to 2015 and 2016, a period when the Post Office was under scrutiny to address accusations from sub-postmasters.

These sub-postmasters had faced prosecution and imprisonment due to discrepancies caused by the Horizon system. Documents detail the shelved 2016 investigation that emerged from an earlier audit by Jonathan Swift QC, commissioned by the government and approved by then-Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

This long-concealed investigation was one of three reviews the Post Office conducted into remote access, costing millions, while publicly denying such interference as possible.

The BBC investigation raises questions about government complicity and the efficacy of the ongoing public inquiry into the Horizon scandal. Senior figures, including past chief executive Paula Vennells, declined to comment pending the inquiry. The UK Government Investments, owner of the Post Office, asserted in 2022 that the Post Office board was not fully briefed on these investigations.

The timeline reveals that ministers, including Sajid Javid, were periodically informed of developments, with the last update being the abrupt cessation of Deloitte's investigation in June 2016, advised by leading counsel amidst legal action by sub-postmasters.

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