Fujitsu is wrongdoer behind Post Office scandal – however will get contracts value £100m

The Horison IT system supplied by Fujitsu was the true wrongdoer behind the Post Office scandal.

But at present we reveal that the agency nonetheless will get authorities contracts value £100m a 12 months.

MPs say it shouldn’t be handed any extra Government contracts.

Fujitsu continues to be being allowed to bid for the profitable work after its defective software program led to lots of of harmless sub-postmasters and mistresses being wrongly prosecuted.

Since 2012 – greater than a decade after the scandal started – the general public sector has awarded Fujitsu nearly 200 contracts value £6.8billion in complete, analyst Tussell says.

Fujitsu continues to be one of many Government’s “strategic suppliers”, which usually means it receives over £100million in contracts per 12 months. Labour MP Kate Osborne, who has campaigned on the scandal, mentioned: “It is astounding the Government is continuing to award them billions of pounds worth of contracts. The least they could do is not give them any new contracts. It’s a kick in the teeth for the former postmasters.”

The Government has mentioned Fujitsu could also be compelled to contribute money for compensation, however is refusing to cease the agency bidding for contracts till a public inquiry into the scandal has completed. The probe was established in 2020.

Journalist Tony Collins, the previous editor at Computer Weekly which first uncovered the scandal, mentioned: “I smile wryly when I hear ministers saying they’re going to get redress from Fujitsu. It’s not going to happen… They can’t be forced to do anything. They are in a uniquely strong position.”

He added: “Telling civil servants they can’t use Fujitsu is like telling them they can’t have lunch. Fujitsu is intricately woven into the fabric of the government machine. The Government couldn’t operate without them.” Ministers are overturning all of the convictions.

Chris Head started a petition on the Post Office Horizon Scandal in 2020
Chris Head began a petition on the Post Office Horizon Scandal in 2020
Alamy Stock Photo)

Fujitsu mentioned: “The inquiry is examining complex events stretching back over 20 years to understand who knew what, when, and what they did with that knowledge. The inquiry has reinforced the devastating impact on postmasters’ lives… Fujitsu has apologised for its role in their suffering. Fujitsu is fully committed to supporting the inquiry in order to understand what happened and to learn from it.”

The Fujitsu Files

Government flooded

Fujitsu gives IT companies to Government departments together with the Home Office, the Foreign Office, Defra and the Ministry of Defence.

Contracts embrace the Police National Computer, the Government’s flood warning system, and the nationwide emergency alerts system launched final 12 months.

In August, the Mirror revealed Fujitsu had been handed a £1m contract to offer pc companies for HS2.

Keeping in with The Tories

Fujitsu’s non-executive chairman till 2019, Simon Blagden is a Tory social gathering member who has donated £376,000.

Fujitsu insists the donations he made to the social gathering whereas with the corporate got here from his personal cash.

Despite Fujitsu suing the Government over its failed NHS IT challenge on his watch, Mr Blagden, who was mentioned to have dined frequently with PM Theresa May, was awarded a CBE in 2016 for companies to the economic system.

Suing for £700m

In 2002 Fujitsu was one of many lead contractors on the NHS’s Programme for IT (NPfIT) to digitise data.

But the scheme failed, at a value of at the very least £10billion to the taxpayer in response to the National Audit Office.

In 2011 the contract was terminated, with the NHS claiming the programs didn’t work. The firm then sued the Government for £700million.

A clause in its deal meant that disagreements went to the London Court of International Arbritation, a privately-run arbitrator. Accounts counsel the agency acquired all however £71m.

At the Tory convention

PM Rishi Sunak
PM Rishi Sunak

Fujitsu schmoozes MPs from all events. Its accounts reveal that in 2015-16 it paid £21,000 to the Tories, £14,000 to Labour and £11,000 to the Lib Dems, quantities it says fashioned a part of “the company’s presence at all three main political parties’ annual party conferences”. At the Conservative convention, the corporate has run the Blue Room, a non-public luxurious lounge the place executives mingle with ministers.

P.O nonetheless utilizing discredited system

The Post Office continues to make use of the notorious Horizon pc system regardless of the breath-taking scandal. It is even nonetheless believed to be paying builders Fujitsu tens of hundreds of thousands for his or her IT assist.

Last 12 months the loss-making Post Office requested the Government for £252million of funding, which included cash to cowl the price of updating the significantly flawed pc system.

Armed and harmful

In 2015 Fujitsu received a five-year deal value over £550million to modernise MoD telecoms known as ModNet Evolve, one in every of two contracts that might “bring savings of £1bn which will be directly reinvested by the MoD in defence capability”.

Four years later the system was £210m over finances and two years delayed, whereas a report warned “cost and time overruns could well worsen”. The issues the contract was meant to resolve have nonetheless not been eradicated, with a Public Accounts Committee report final 12 months assessing the system as “unachievable”.

Too many errors

In 1998 the Government signed a contract with ICL/Fujitsu for a brand new IT system to streamline greater than 300 magistrates courts.

The 10-year contract was value £146million however the agency was unable to ship a system that operated correctly. An impartial overview in February 2002 discovered Fujitsu had made “too many mistakes”, together with a poor evaluation of necessities and unrealistic value estimates. It additionally famous frequent personnel adjustments.

But Fujitsu demanded much more cash and threatened to withdraw from the challenge.

The agency ended up being given a brand new Government contract for £390m over eight years, for doing lower than the unique scheme and now not even delivering the core software program.

Bosses make hundreds of thousands

Paul Patterson
Paul Patterson

Fujitsu paid greater than £2million to 3 huge bosses within the UK in 2022.

Accounts for the 12 months to the top of March 2023 are overdue and will have been submitted to Companies House by the top of December.

The three unnamed administrators at Fujitsu Services UK shared £2.3m, with the best paid, who will not be named, receiving £1.3m of that.

Paul Patterson is company government officer and co-CEO of Fujitsu in Europe and is listed within the accounts of one of many UK arm’s administrators.

Taking the federal government to court docket

In 2019 Fujitsu took the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the High Court as a result of the FCO awarded a £350million IT outsourcing contract to its rival, Vodafone.

The four-year ECHO 1 contract was to provide voice and information companies to 550 embassies and different British authorities posts in 170 international locations.

Fujitsu additionally needed “damages reflecting the loss of profit”, “wasted bid costs”, curiosity on damages and prices the court docket awarded, and a court docket order to oust Vodafone. Fujitsu received. The FCO cancelled Vodafone’s deal and gave one to Fujitsu in 2021.