National News

Fujitsu received £3.4bn from Treasury-linked deals

today 28

Background
share close

Fujitsu received £3.4bn from Treasury-linked deals

Fujitsu is set to have received more than £3.4 billion through contracts running with Treasury-linked organisations since 2019 despite its role in the Post Office scandal, MPs have found.

Around £1.4 billion worth of deals have been awarded since the High Court ruled that there had been numerous bugs and errors in its Horizon software.

More than £2 billion worth of contracts were agreed before 2019 and remained active in the following period, the Commons Treasury Committee said.

The influential group of MPs last month wrote to organisations including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England (BoE) to demand details of their agreements with Fujitsu.

Publishing the responses on Saturday, the committee said that all three have spent considerable sums with Fujitsu Services Ltd or Fujitsu Global-owned entities.

HMRC has awarded the company eight contracts worth £1.39 billion since the ruling in 2019, while a further six contracts pre-dating the ruling remained active after 2019 but have since ceased.

The FCA agreed deals worth around £630 million dating back to 2007 which continued to run after the High Court judgment, and still maintains six contracts worth a combined total of around £9 million.

The Bank of England confirmed it had one contract worth £417,000 from 2019 which expired on August 9 2020.

The committee had asked all organisations whether Fujitsu’s role in the Horizon scandal was considered during the tendering process and whether they thought about ending the deals in light of the scandal.

But it said the only response it had received about possible termination had come from the FCA, which confirmed it considered winding down a contract with the firm due to poor performance but decided to retain its services.

The FCA is an independent non-governmental body but reports to the Treasury.

Chairwoman of the committee and Tory MP Harriett Baldwin 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.

“As set out in some of the letters we received, Fujitsu was often accessed through pre-approved government frameworks run by the Crown Commercial Service.

“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.”

Hundreds of subpostmasters across the UK were wrongly prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 after Fujitsu’s faulty accounting system made it seem as though money was missing from their branches.

In 2019, the High Court ruled that the software had contained “bugs, errors and defects”, leading the scandal to become known as the most widespread miscarriage of justice in British history.

Scrutiny of Fujitsu, Government and the Post Office has intensified in recent weeks after the saga was dramatised in ITV’s Mr Bates Vs The Post Office.

A statutory inquiry seeking to establish the full facts, including the roles played by different organisations, is ongoing.

Fujitsu has offered its “deepest apologies” to victims of the scandal and said it would contribute towards compensation payments for those wrongly convicted.

Bosses have indicated the firm will cooperate fully with the inquiry and wait until it nears its conclusion before working out the appropriate amount.

A Government spokesperson said: “The impact the Horizon scandal has had on postmasters and their families is utterly horrendous, and it is crucial that something like this can never happen again.

“That is why we have launched a statutory inquiry into the scandal to get to the bottom of what went wrong, as well as providing compensation for those affected.

“We welcome Fujitsu’s decision to pause bidding for work with new Government customers until such time as the inquiry concludes. Ahead of that, and as with all contracts, we continue to keep Fujitsu’s conduct and commercial performance under review.”

A HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC works with hundreds of IT partners – big and small – and all of our contracts are publicly available through Contracts Finder.

“The size and complexity of our IT estate means that multiple partners are involved in building and maintaining almost all of our systems and services.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

Written by:

Rate it

0%