Fujitsu government contracts under scrutiny in light of Horizon scandal | Post Office Horizon scandal

Fujitsu’s receipt of lucrative government contracts despite its role in the Post Office Horizon scandal has come under greater scrutiny after the Treasury committee wrote to organisations including the Bank of England and HM Revenue and Customs to demand details of their contracts with the tech company.

The influential group of MPs told 21 public bodies, including the Treasury itself, to provide information on work given to the Japanese-owned company since 2019, when the high court ruled there had been dozens of bugs and errors in its Horizon IT system.

The committee said it wanted to know whether Fujitsu’s role in Horizon was considered during the tendering process and whether departments had given any thought to terminating the deals in the light of the scandal.

The firm, which makes more than £100m a year from government work, publicly apologised for its part in the affair this week, admitting it had a “moral obligation” to contribute towards redress for victims. It also wrote to the government to say it would not bid for further Whitehall contracts while the inquiry, led by the retired high court judge Sir Wyn Williams, continued.

Thousands of post office branch owner-operators, known as sub-postmasters, were accused, prosecuted or convicted of crimes such as fraud and theft, partly due to faulty data produced by the Horizon system that Fujitsu built.

The Treasury committee’s chair, Harriett Baldwin, said: “The public outcry regarding the Post Office sub-postmaster scandal is entirely justified, and I know I speak for the whole committee when I express my horror at the injustices the victims faced.

“It’s clear that Fujitsu has questions to answer over its conduct. I think it’s important we can see the extent to which taxpayer money has been spent with Fujitsu since the high court ruling, as they are simultaneously assessed on their fitness to remain a government supplier.”

Analysis of data provided by the procurement specialists Tussell indicated that Horizon had won £4.4bn of government work since December 2019, when the high court verdict was issued.

Deals include a £1bn contract with HMRC and £3m of work from the Financial Conduct Authority. Both are among the organisations that will receive letters from the Treasury committee asking for details of any contracts awarded to Fujitsu since 2019.

This week, about 300 staff, most of whom work in IT support for HMRC at sites in Telford and Stratford, east London, went on strike in protest at a pay offer that the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said was 10 times less than what Fujitsu was offering staff in Japan.

On Friday, Fujitsu’s European boss, Paul Patterson, told the judge-led inquiry into the Horizon scandal that it was “shameful” that courts prosecuting the branch owner-operators were not told of the bugs.

Fujitsu declined to comment.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.