It has been revealed that the executives at Fujitsu collected around £37m as compensation, bonuses, and pay since they won the contract for the supply of the software at the center of the Post Office Horizon scam.
Accounting records dating back to 25 years show that executives at the UK division, a Japanese-owned technology firm, received seven-figure salaries. This was despite the fact that more than 900 individuals were prosecuted for the flaws of the system they supplied.
Fujitsu has officially apologised to Post Office owners-operators (also known as subpostmasters and poststresses) for their role in the wrong prosecution.
Tokyo-based Fujitsu has also pledged to contribute towards compensation. However, it has not yet revealed how much the company expects to pay. A report published by the Treasury Select Committee this weekend found that Horizon had won at least £1.4bn in public sector contracts following a court ruling that Horizon was riddled “bugs”.
The BBC published an analysis on Sunday that focused on seven senior executives responsible for the Horizon contract. The BBC found that the seven executives received £26m of bonuses and pay during the Horizon contract’s life, along with £11m of compensation for their loss of office.
Alan Bates is a former postman who became the face of a victims’ campaign following an ITV drama that featured him. He told the BBC how while his bosses were earning huge salaries, people like him and him struggled to make ends meet.
He said, “We are still skint little people right now.” “It is not only Fujitsu but also the Post Office, and senior executives were receiving bonuses that were twice as large as their salaries. This was for a state owned corporation.”
The BBC has named Keith Todd as the executive who led Fujitsu during the development of Horizon in the late 90s. His successors are Richard Christou and David Courtley.
Paul Patterson and Duncan Tait, the former boss of Fujitsu UK & Ireland, are also included.
The Guardian reported last month, that Tait was awarded £2.6m as compensation for his loss of office in 2019 after he resigned. Tait had told Paula Vennells, the former Post Office boss, that Horizon was as secure as Fort Knox.
In December of that year, the high court ruled that Horizon’s “bugs, mistakes and defects” could lead to shortfalls on Post Office branch account, creating an appearance of fraud or theft by innocent operators.
Fujitsu has won a total of £1.4 billion in government contracts, after a ruling by Treasury-linked bodies only.
The Treasury Select Committee found that the company had £3.4bn of contracts before and after 2019 with the Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs. It also held contracts with the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority.
Fujitsu said that it would no longer be bidding for contracts in the public sector unless specifically asked to do so. A statutory investigation into the scandal is still ongoing, headed by Sir Wyn William.
Christou, Courtley Anwen Owen Patterson and Todd refused to comment to the BBC on their salaries. Gilbert stated last week that he was shocked by the Post Office’s pursuit of post-office operators.
Tait stated: “I’m appalled at the harsh treatment meted out to the sub-postmasters, and I want to do everything possible to support the investigation.”
“This was a horrible miscarriage and I, along with others at Fujitsu am sorry for any damage done to the lives of the sub-postmasters or postmistresses, and Fujitsu’s role in this.”
Fujitsu declined to comment repeatedly on the pay issue, but stated that it “takes this matter very seriously and extends its sincerest apologies” to the subpostmasters and families.
“Based on findings from the inquiry, we’ll also work with the UK Government on appropriate actions, such as contribution to compensation. The Fujitsu Group hopes for a quick resolution that will ensure a fair outcome for the victims.