Computer system that saw innocent Post staff jailed is renewed for £ 42million

EXCLUSIVE: Tech giant Fujitsu has secured a shock deal worth up to £ 42million for its Horizon accounting software, which has been blamed for the imprisonment or bankruptcy of dozens of innocent postmasters

Former postal workers celebrating outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, after their convictions were overturned by the Court of Appeal

The disastrous computer system that caused the wrongful imprisonment of dozens of postmasters has been extended for use by the Post.

Tech giant Fujitsu has won a contract worth up to £ 42million for its Horizon accounting software.

The sum is more than three times what the postmasters received in settlement for having their lives ruined by the bug system.

He has been blamed for the imprisonment or bankruptcy of innocent postmasters by creating deficits in branch accounts.

Between 2000 and 2014, La Poste prosecuted 736 postmasters.

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Former postal worker Tom Hedges (center) holds up a bottle and a glass of champagne in celebration at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, after his conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal



After a historic day at the Court of Appeals last month, some 45 postmasters were cleared and dozens more are lining up to challenge their convictions.

Horizon – which the Post introduced in 1999 and spent 15 years insisting it was incapable of mistakes – was found to be fraught with trouble by the High Court.

In an out-of-court settlement in 2019, the Post agreed to pay £ 58million to 555 claimants.

Former CEO of Swiss Post Paula Vennells



But after court costs, they had to share £ 12million, receiving just £ 20,000 each on average.

Earlier that year, Paula Vennells resigned her post as the post’s managing director, a position she had held since 2012.

The agreement with Fujitsu is approved by the government which owns the post office.

45 Number of applicants whose names have been cleared so far

15 years old Number of years the post office insisted the system was problem-proof

£ 20,000 Average payment for 555 applicants after an amicable settlement

£ 12million The amount the claimants had to share after court costs

169 Millions of pounds given to Fujitsu for his HMRC contract by the government

The Horizon contract was due to expire in 2022, but it was postponed to 2023, at an additional cost of £ 21million.

There is another option to extend it to 2024 which would add an additional £ 21million.

Japanese company Fujitsu has contracts worth billions of pounds with the government.

Thirty-nine former deputy masters who were convicted of theft, fraud and false accounting due to the Post Office’s faulty Horizon accounting system had their names cleared by the Court of Appeal



These include a five-year deal with HMRC worth £ 168.8million, a £ 29million contract with the Department for Work and Pensions and he leads a consortium with a £ 200million contract to implement Brexit controls in the Irish Sea.

Two retired Fujitsu experts are under investigation by the Metropolitan Police over evidence they provided in court that helped convict postmasters.

It is believed that the Post is trying to replace Horizon with another “more user-friendly” computer system, but it is not yet ready.

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A spokesperson said, “We recently took steps to protect our business by extending our agreement with Fujitsu to provide Horizon IT services for an additional year, with an option to extend for one more final year.

“It is not possible to replace all of these services by the current expiration date of April 2023 without introducing significant operational risk into our network.

“We have taken several important steps to modernize our IT services, including signing an agreement with Amazon Web Services to host our legacy Horizon application services in their cloud, which is expected to become operational this year. “

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Gordon K. Morehouse