Fujitsu May Have to Pay Compensation, more than 1.2 million people have signed a petition demanding that former Post Office executive Paula Vennells be stripped of her CBE.
A Cabinet official has stated that Fujitsu may have to pay millions in compensation to sub-postmasters and postmistresses who were wrongfully convicted of fraud as a result of the Horizon incident.
Fujitsu May Have to Pay Compensation to Sub-Postmasters Over Faulty Horizon Software
The Post Office is completely owned by the government, therefore taxpayers are covering at least part of the compensation bill for what has been regarded as the largest miscarriage of justice in British history.
However, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride insisted that “it won’t necessarily be the taxpayer” who is “on the hook for this money.”
MPs have called on Fujitsu, the company behind the flawed Horizon accounting software that made it appear as if money was disappearing from stores, to compensate for compensating injured Post Office employees.
Mr Stride told LBC Radio: “To the degree that that guilt rests on the shoulders of others rather than the government, I believe you can expect ministers to reach the necessary judgments. And it’s possible that those costs will not be borne solely by taxpayers.
However, he did not go so far as to argue that the Japanese technology corporation should be prohibited from receiving millions of pounds in government contracts while an investigation into the Horizon disaster and who was to blame continues.
“Now if it determines that Fujitsu made many knowing mistakes and caused all sorts of problems that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred, then that would strike me as being quite a serious situation and I would expect some very serious consequences,” he said.
When asked about Mr Stride’s statements on compensation, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Our position is that once the inquiry has established the facts and laid them out, those found responsible will be held accountable, whether legally or financially.”
“But I can’t prejudge that independent work.” Mr Stride emphasized that the unjust convictions were a “terrible situation” for everyone concerned, with many losing their jobs and four committing suicide.
Ministers were now working at a “very considerable pace” to fix the situation, and a solution may be announced within days.
However, Mr Stride was questioned about the slow speed at which victims were cleared and compensated, particularly during Rishi Sunak’s tenure as Chancellor, and whether the government was sleeping at the wheel.
“I wouldn’t accept that,” he added, referring to the public inquiry into what went wrong that was put up a few years ago and the £138 million in compensation.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and other former postal affairs ministers are being questioned for failing to do more when concerns about Horizon were raised with them.
By mid-morning, a petition demanding that former Post Office executive Paula Vennells be stripped of her CBE had gathered over 1.2 million signatures.
According to a Fujitsu representative, the current Post Office Horizon IT statutory inquiry is looking into complex events that occurred over 20 years ago to determine who knew what, when, and what they did with that information.
“The Inquiry has highlighted the catastrophic impact on the lives of postmasters and their families, and Fujitsu has apologized for its role in their suffering. Fujitsu is completely committed to assisting the Inquiry in determining what happened and learning from it.”