Fujitsu, a Japanese technology corporation, has been confirmed to have held contracts with the Treasury totaling over £3.4bn since 2019. This company’s technology, which was found to be faulty, resulted in the unjust prosecution of numerous subpostmasters.
The treasury committee of the Commons recently released data showing that £1.4billion worth of contracts were given to organizations related to the Treasury following a court decision in December 2019 regarding the company’s software. The ruling concluded that flaws in Fujitsu’s Horizon system could potentially lead to discrepancies in Post Office branch finances.
Contracts worth over £2 billion were granted before the decision was made. These contracts remained in effect after the verdict, but some have since been completed.
In January, Fujitsu notified the Cabinet Office that it would refrain from competing for UK public contracts until the public inquiry into the Post Office scandal is completed.
Last month, the treasury committee sent letters to various organizations, such as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Bank of England (BoE), requesting information about their partnerships with Fujitsu. The committee discovered that all three organizations had worked with either Fujitsu Services or its global subsidiaries.
HMRC entered into contracts with Fujitsu valued at over £2.8bn, which remained in effect during or after the 2019 high court ruling. Currently, HMRC has approximately £1.4bn in active contracts with Fujitsu.
During the specified time frame, the FCA entered into contracts totaling £630m, but currently only holds agreements with the company or global-owned entities valued at £9m. The BoE had one contract during the relevant period, valued at over £417,000, which ended in August 2020.
Over 700 subpostmasters faced legal action when Fujitsu’s accounting software falsely indicated that money was missing from their stores. These technological errors resulted in one of the most significant cases of wrongful conviction in recent legal history.
The chair of the treasury committee, Harriett Baldwin, stated that they have discovered new information that may go beyond the knowledge of the Cabinet Office. It is hoped that this will improve transparency and oversight of Fujitsu’s role as a supplier to the public sector.
The investigation will continue, and it’s good to hear that Fujitsu has agreed to contribute to the compensation for the postmasters who were wrongly convicted.
Examination of the Post Office and Fujitsu has increased following the airing of the ITV show last month, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which caused widespread anger. The authorities have declared that innocent operators of post offices who were wrongly found guilty because of the Horizon scandal will have their reputations restored through new legislation that will reverse numerous convictions.