UK says Fujitsu should pay hundreds of millions for UK Post Office scandal

LONDON (Reuters) -Japan’s Fujitsu should be contributing hundreds of millions of pounds to pay the compensation bill the British government is expecting to face over the Post Office Scandal, postal minister Kevin Hollinrake said on Wednesday.

When asked by BBC Radio if he thought Fujitsu could face a bill of “hundreds of millions of pounds” to compensate victims, Hollinrake said: “Yes, I do.”

“This will cost the taxpayer a billion pounds, maybe more than that,” he said, adding that he “absolutely” thought the Tokyo-listed company should contribute a significant proportion of the redress cost.

The IT group’s European head Paul Patterson last week told a parliamentary panel the company had a “moral obligation” to compensate hundreds of Post Office branch managers wrongly convicted of fraud, theft and false accounting between 1999 and 2015.

Fujitsu declined to comment further when approached by Reuters regarding Hollinrake’s estimation. The company said on Thursday it would work with the government on “appropriate actions,” including compensation.

A recent TV drama about the scandal, which arose as a result of Fujitsu’s faulty Horizon software, has ignited public anger about the injustices.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it one of the country’s biggest miscarriages of justice and has set out plans to mass exonerate those convicted, while a public inquiry into the scandal at the state-owned institution carries on.

(Reporting by William James and Muvija M in London, and Sam Nussey in Tokyo; editing by Sarah Young and Paul Sandle)