After a court decision regarding software bugs at the Post Office, Fujitsu secured new government contracts worth £1.4 billion.

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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.

Contracts worth over £2 billion were given before the decision was made. These contracts remained in effect after the judgment, but some have now ended.

In January, Fujitsu notified the Cabinet Office that it will not participate in bidding for public contracts in the UK 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 previously entered into contracts with Fujitsu Services or its global subsidiaries.

Fujitsu was granted contracts by HMRC with a total value of over £2.8bn, which were in effect either during or after the 2019 high court decision. Currently, HMRC has approximately £1.4bn worth of active contracts with Fujitsu.

Toby Jones as subpostmaster Alan Bates in ITV’s Mr Bates vs the Post Office.View image in fullscreen

During the relevant time frame, the FCA approved contracts totaling £630m. However, at present, they only have agreements with the company or global-owned entities worth slightly over £9m. The BoE only had one contract during this time, valued at more than £417,000, which ended in August 2020.

Over 700 subpostmasters were taken to court due to errors in Fujitsu’s accounting software, which falsely indicated that money had disappeared from their stores. These technological issues resulted in one of the largest cases of wrongful convictions in recent legal history.

According to Harriett Baldwin, who chairs the treasury committee, we have discovered some new information that surpasses what is currently known by the Cabinet Office. This could potentially improve transparency and oversight regarding Fujitsu’s role as a supplier for the public sector.

“The investigation will continue as planned, and it is positive to hear that Fujitsu has agreed to contribute towards the compensation for the postmasters who were wrongly convicted.”

After the ITV series Mr Bates vs The Post Office aired last month, there has been increased attention on the Post Office and Fujitsu. This has caused national outrage. The government has responded by announcing new laws that will clear the names of post office operators who were wrongly convicted because of the Horizon scandal. These laws are expected to reverse hundreds of convictions.


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