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    Fujitsu admits Horizon was faulty, agrees to contribute to compensation

    Fujitsu, the tech company at the heart of the UK's Post Office scandal, has suffered a financial blow with a billion dollars (£768 million) wiped off its value within eight days of the ITV show 'Mr. Bates vs The Post Office'. The programme dramatised the Post Office scandal of the late 1990s, featuring Fujitsu's faulty IT system Horizon. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

    Fujitsu, the technology company behind flawed Horizon IT system responsible for Post Office scandal, has admitted for the first time that it should contribute to financial redress for victims.

    During an ongoing inquiry, Fujitsu’s European boss, Paul Patterson, admitted the company had known the IT system was faulty since the 1990s. Asked if the Japanese-owned company should contribute to redress for victims, estimated to reach £1bn, he agree it should but said the exact amount would have to wait until the end of the inquiry, led by a judge, Sir Wyn Williams.

    “I think there is a moral obligation for the company to contribute,” Patterson said. “The right place to determine that is when our responsibility is very clear. There are many parties involved in this travesty.”

    He said Fujitsu knew that the Horizon system was flawed at the time that the firm was supporting the Post Office in prosecuting more than 700 post office operators.

    “Fujitsu would like to apologise for our part in this appalling miscarriage of justice. We were involved from the very start. We did have bugs and errors from the start and we did help the Post Office with prosecutions of subpostmasters.”

    MPs also heard from two former post office operators, Joan Hamilton and Alan Bates, who claimed that redress were being held up by red tape, adding to the suffering of those who had been wrongly prosecuted or convicted.

    “It is frustrating to put it mildly,” Bates said. “I mean, there is no reason at all why full financial redress shouldn’t have been delivered by now. It’s gone on for far too long. People are suffering, they’re dying … And it just seems to be tied up in bureaucracy.”

    Bates referred to a 91-year-old former post office operator who was still waiting to be made good. “How many more years has she got to wait for financial redress? It’s very unfair and it’s cruel.”

    Nick Read, the chief executive of the Post Office, said the organisation was committed to “get off Horizon”, which still runs Post Office systems and is scheduled to do so until 2025 after contract extensions.

    Fujitsu has earned £2.4bn from the contract, which will have run for more than a quarter of a century by the time.

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