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Fujitsu has ‘moral obligation’ to compensate sub-postmasters, says Fujitsu boss

Written by Thu 18 Jan 2024

Fujitsu Europe’s boss has said the Japanese IT services company has a ‘moral obligation’ to compensate wrongly prosecuted sub-postmasters due to its faulty Horizon software.

Paul Patterson, Fujitsu’s CEO for Europe, apologised for the company’s participation in what he called an ‘appalling miscarriage of justice’. He added the company had been ‘involved from the very start’.

“We did have bugs and errors in the system and we did help the Post Office in their prosecutions of the sub-postmasters,” said Patterson.

Patterson could not explain Fujitsu’s inaction on Horizon system glitches despite early awareness. The Global Chief Executive of Fujitsu, Takahito Tokita, also apologised.

“This is a big issue, which Fujitsu takes very seriously … Fujitsu has apologised for the impact on the postmasters’ lives and their families,” said Tokita.

Tokita did not confirm the company’s intent to return earnings from the faulty Horizon system.

The Post Office Scandal

Between 1999 to 2015, the Post Office prosecuted hundreds of sub-postmasters due to the flawed Horizon IT system by Fujitsu.

For years the Post Office insisted on the reliability of data from the Horizon computer accounting system whilst accusing branch managers of theft. Since then, there have been several versions of Fujitsu’s Horizon system.

In 2019, 555 sub-postmasters won a group action case against the Post Office in court. The group was led by Alan Bates. The Post Office opted for an out-of-court settlement, agreeing to pay £58 million ($73.7 million).

In December 2020, convictions were overturned for six sub-postmasters. In April 2021, the Court of Appeal judges overturned the convictions of 39 sub-postmasters.

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Written by Thu 18 Jan 2024

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