Government gives huge contract to company despite its part in the Horizon software scandal that led to innocent sub-postmasters being sacked or jailed for theft
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The computer firm at the heart of the sub-postmasters scandal has been handed over to a new £500million Government contract.
Fujitsu has been chosen to provide a range of computing services at HMRC over the next five years. The contract was awarded despite the company’s Horizon software being blamed for accounting glitches which led to hundreds of sub-postmasters losing their jobs – and even being jailed.
HMRC is the body responsible for calculating and collecting tax. Labor’s deputy leader Angela Rayner branded the decision “a kick in the teeth for sub-postmasters”.
She added: “The Government is doing nothing to ensure this company is held to account for its role in the Horizon scandal. People lost their homes, their reputations, even their lives as a result. All ongoing government contracts with Fujitsu must be urgently reviewed.”
Julian Hamilton/Sunday Mirror)
Earlier, it emerged that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had to give the Post Office £1billion to cover compensation claims as a result of the scandal.
But HMRC still elected to give the massive contract – “to provide all managed desktop, print and workspace services” – to Fujitsu.
Publicly available information also shows the firm was recently awarded a £44million contract by the Foreign Office to provide telecommunications services; a £6.1million deal to provide a phone network at this summer’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games; and a £665,000 contract by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for an “emergency alert system”.
Labor MP Kevan Jones said: “Sub-postmasters and their families will be astounded Fujitsu has been handed these contracts by the Government in the present circumstances.”
Fujitsu did not wish to comment and HMRC said it could not discuss individual contracts.
But a spokesman added: “All our contracts are decided via fair and open competition to improve services for customers and get the best deals for taxpayers. We follow government procurement rules.”
Between 2000 and 2014, hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to faults in the Horizon software. So far, 72 have been successful in overturning convictions but there are likely to be a further 664 who will be entitled to huge sums of compensation.