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Fujitsu to wait for Horizon inquiry to near end before deciding on compensation

Bosses at Fujitsu have indicated the company will wait until the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry nears its conclusion before it works out the appropriate amount of compensation it will pay to wrongfully convicted subpostmasters.

Earlier this month, the technology giant told MPs it will contribute towards compensation payments for subpostmasters who were wrongfully convicted after failures in its Horizon IT software made it look as though money was missing from their branches.

More than 700 Post Office branch managers were convicted between 1999 and 2015.

The saga prompted an outcry across the country after it was dramatised in ITV series Mr Bates vs The Post Office earlier this month.

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On Wednesday, Fujitsu confirmed it has not yet set aside a provision for compensation in its latest financial update.

Chief financial officer Isobe Takeshi said on Wednesday morning: “In the UK, people are talking about paying compensation as soon as possible.

“But as the direction of the inquiry becomes clear we want to work on appropriate compensation.

“We take this matter very seriously. We want the facts to become clear from the statutory inquiry.”

The inquiry was launched in September 2020 and is being led by retired high court judge Sir Wyn Williams.

Mr Takeshi said Fujitsu remains “fully committed” to co-operating with the process and that he is hoping for a “swift resolution”.

He added: “First and foremost, on behalf of the Fujitsu Group, I would like to convey our deepest apologies to the subpostmasters and their families, and reiterate that we regard this matter with the utmost seriousness.

“Our company’s UK subsidiary has been co-operating fully with the ongoing UK statutory inquiry, which has been investigating complex events that have unfolded over many years, and going forward we remain fully committed to offering our complete support and co-operation.

“I would also like to emphasise that our global board of directors is maintaining strict supervision over the matter, including the handling of the ongoing inquiry.

“It is our sincere hope that the inquiry allows for a swift resolution that ensures a just outcome for the victims.”