According to recent reports, executives at Fujitsu have received approximately £37 million in salary, bonuses, and severance pay following their contract to provide software for the Post Office Horizon controversy.
Over the past 25 years, financial records show that high-ranking officials in the British branch of a technology company, which is owned by Japan, received payments totaling seven figures. This occurred despite the fact that over 900 individuals were prosecuted due to errors in the company’s product.
Fujitsu is expected to make a profit of £1.5bn from the Horizon contract by 2025, but has officially apologized for its involvement in the unjust prosecution of Post Office operators, also referred to as sub-postmasters and postmistresses.
The company headquartered in Tokyo has committed to providing compensation, but the specific amount has not been disclosed. According to a report from the Treasury select committee released over the weekend, the company received contracts worth at least £1.4bn from the public sector despite a court ruling that revealed issues with the Horizon system.
The BBC’s analysis, released on Sunday, has brought attention to seven top executives who were in charge of the contract. It revealed that they were paid a total of £26 million in salary and bonuses while overseeing the Horizon contract, and also received £11 million in compensation upon leaving their positions.
Alan Bates, the ex-postal worker who has become the figurehead of the victims’ movement following an ITV show featuring him, informed the BBC that despite executives making significant wages, he and others in his position were facing financial hardship.
“We are currently struggling financially,” he stated. “This issue extends beyond just Fujitsu, as it also includes the Post Office and top-level employees who received bonuses twice the amount of their salaries, despite working for a government-owned company.”
The BBC has identified the following individuals as executives: Keith Todd, who oversaw the development of the Horizon system at Fujitsu in the late 1990s, and his successors Richard Christou, David Courtley, and Roger Gilbert.
The group also consists of the present leader of Fujitsu UK & Ireland, Paul Patterson, and the previous leader, Duncan Tait.
Last month, The Guardian reported that Tait, who reassured former Post Office CEO Paula Vennells that the Horizon system was highly secure, received a payout of £2.6 million when he resigned in 2019.
In December of that same year, a decision by the high court concluded that errors and issues in Horizon had the potential to result in discrepancies in Post Office branch balances, creating the illusion of embezzlement or misconduct by unsuspecting post office employees.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that Fujitsu secured government contracts worth £1.4 billion solely from Treasury-affiliated organizations.
The Treasury select committee discovered that the organization had agreements worth £3.4 billion with the Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority, both before and after the 2019 decision.
Fujitsu announced that it will not actively pursue public sector contracts unless specifically requested to do so, as a statutory inquiry into the scandal, led by Sir Wyn Williams, is ongoing.
Christou, Courtley, Anwen Owen, Patterson, and Todd all chose not to provide a statement regarding their salary to the BBC. Gilbert expressed his surprise last week at the Post Office’s actions towards post office operators.
Tait expressed his dismay at the severe treatment of the sub-postmasters and postmistresses, and is committed to providing assistance in the investigation.
“I deeply regret the grave injustice that has occurred and apologize on behalf of Fujitsu for any harm inflicted upon the sub-postmasters and postmistresses, and any potential involvement of Fujitsu in this matter.”
Fujitsu has continuously refused to provide a statement on compensation, but stated that they take this issue very seriously and sincerely apologizes to the sub-postmasters and their families.
“After reviewing the investigation’s results, we will collaborate with the UK government to determine the necessary measures, including providing compensation. The Fujitsu group desires a prompt resolution that guarantees fairness for those impacted.”