Stormont officials discussing NI Fujitsu contracts

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Fujitsu logo is seen pictured on glass with an out-of-focus employee in the background, taken at the company's offices in Tokyo in 2007Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Fujitsu, which is one of Japan's most prominent companies, is one of the largest suppliers of IT services to the NI public sector.

By John Campbell

BBC News NI economics and business editor

Stormont's Department of Finance is working closely with the UK Cabinet Office on the issue of Fujitsu contracts, assembly members have heard.

Fujitsu is one of the largest suppliers of IT services to the NI public sector.

The Japanese firm said in January it will no longer bid for work in the public sector amid the ongoing inquiry into the Post Office scandal.

Fujitsu created the faulty Horizon software which wrongly calculated money was missing from Post Office branches.

Hundreds of sub-postmasters and postmistresses ended up with criminal convictions for false accounting and theft, and some went to prison.

Many were left financially ruined. Others have died in the time it has taken to seek justice and redress.

A public inquiry began in February 2021, chaired by Sir Wyn Williams.

The issue was highlighted by the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, which was broadcast in January 2024.

Department of Finance chief executive of construction and procurement delivery, Sharon Smyth, said there had been a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the technology firm.

Ms Smyth said government bodies were bound by public contract regulations which determines what can be done with tenders and contracts.

Fujitsu provides the civil service HR and payroll system; its other work in Northern Ireland includes contracts in the criminal justice system, libraries and schools.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Hundreds of sub-postmasters were prosecuted based on data from faulty Horizon software between 1999 and 2015.

In January, the boss of Fujitsu's European arm said it has "clearly let society down, and the sub-postmasters down" for its role in the Post Office scandal.

Paul Patterson admitted there were "bugs, errors and defects" with the Horizon software "right from the very start".

Mr Patterson also reiterated the firm's apology for its part in the scandal.

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