Japanese tech firm Fujitsu, whose faulty postal technology led to wrongful prosecutions of hundreds of sub-postmasters, is confirmed to have contracts worth more than £3.4 billion sterling linked to the Treasury since 2019.
Figures released by the Commons Treasury committee show £1.4 billion worth of contracts were awarded to Treasury-affiliated organizations after a High Court ruling in December 2019 relating to the company's software. The judgment concluded that “bugs, errors and defects” in Fujitsu’s Horizon system could lead to deficits in the accounts of Post Office branches.
More than £2 billion worth of contracts were awarded before the ruling. These contracts continued after the ruling, but some have since been concluded.
Fujitsu informed the Cabinet Office in January that it would not bid for UK public contracts pending the conclusion of the public inquiry into the Post Office scandal.
The Treasury committee last month wrote to organizations including HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (BoE) demanding details of their arrangements with Fujitsu. The committee found that all three had contracts with Fujitsu Services or its global entities.
HMRC awarded contracts worth more than £2.8 billion to Fujitsu that were active during or after the High Court ruling in 2019. It now holds around £1.4 billion worth of contracts assets.
The FCA concluded contracts worth £630m over the relevant period, but now only maintains deals with the firm or global entities worth just over £9m sterling. The BoE had just one contract during the relevant period, worth more than £417,000. It expired in August 2020.
More than 700 sub-station managers have been prosecuted after Fujitsu's accounting software made it appear money was missing from their stores. Technological failures led to one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in modern legal history.
Harriett Baldwin, chair of the Treasury committee, said: “We have uncovered information which I believe goes beyond what the Cabinet Office knows. I hope this will contribute to transparency and oversight of Fujitsu's role as a public sector supplier.
“The investigation will continue and it is good news that Fujitsu has agreed to contribute to the compensation that the wrongly convicted postmasters receive.”
Scrutiny of the Post Office and Fujitsu has intensified since the broadcast last month of Mr Bates' ITV series against the Post Office, which sparked national outrage. The government has announced that innocent postal operators who were wrongly convicted over the Horizon scandal will have their names cleared under new laws which it says will overturn hundreds of convictions.