The Japanese technology company Fujitsu, whose flawed technology for the Post Office led to the wrongful prosecution of hundreds of subpostmasters, is confirmed to have held contracts worth more than £3.4bn linked to the Treasury since 2019.
Figures published by the Commons’ treasury committee show £1.4bn of contracts were awarded to Treasury-affiliated organisations after a high court ruling in December 2019 over the company’s software. The judgment found that “bugs, errors and defects” in Fujitsu’s Horizon system could cause shortfalls in Post Office branch accounts.
More than £2bn of contracts were awarded before the judgment. These contracts continued after the ruling, but some have since 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 organisations including HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (BoE) to demand details of their agreements with Fujitsu. The committee found all three had held contracts with Fujitsu Services or its global-owned entities.
HMRC awarded Fujitsu contracts worth more than £2.8bn which were active during or after the high court ruling in 2019. It now holds about £1.4bn of active contracts.
The FCA agreed contracts of £630m over the relevant period, but now only maintains agreements with the company or global-owned entities worth just over £9m. The BoE only had one contract in the relevant period, worth more than £417,000. It expired in August 2020.
More than 700 subpostmasters were prosecuted after Fujitsu’s accounting software made it look as though money had gone missing from their shops. The technology failures led to one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in modern legal history.
Harriett Baldwin, chair of the treasury committee, said: “We have unearthed some information which, I believe, goes beyond what is known by the Cabinet Office. I hope this will aid transparency and scrutiny around the role of Fujitsu as a public sector supplier.
“The inquiry will run its course, and it is welcome news that Fujitsu have agreed to pay towards the compensation that wrongly convicted postmasters are receiving.”
Scrutiny of the Post Office and Fujitsu has intensified since the broadcast of the ITV series last month of Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which prompted national outrage. The government has announced that innocent post office operators who were wrongfully convicted due to the Horizon scandal will have their names cleared under new laws which it says will overturn hundreds of convictions.