SAP suspends SA staff and launches inquiry into allegations of Gupta kickbacks
Global software giant SAP has launched an anti-corruption investigation into allegations that its South African staff arranged kickbacks for a Gupta-linked company for securing tenders with state-owned companies.
The investigation‚ which is to be conducted by an international law firm‚ follows the company’s executive board ordering that SAP’s South African management team be placed on "administrative leave" pending the investigation’s outcome.
The investigation will look into, among other allegations‚ whether Gupta-linked company CAD House received multi-million rand kickbacks for helping the German-based SAP secure contracts with Transnet.
CAD House is owned by President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane and businesses within the Guptas’ Sahara Group.
SAP announced the investigation late on Wednesday night.
Dozens of leaked Gupta e-mails show not only how kickbacks were allegedly paid‚ but also how the Guptas gained access to highly confidential draft contracts between SAP and Eskom.
The SAP-Eskom contract‚ valued at R130m‚ was for an SAP management tool that tracks purchasing‚ invoicing and payment documents.
The Guptas also managed to obtain a bid by SAP to provide commercial software for use in the South African public service.
SAP executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin said all contracts awarded by SAP SA would now be placed under review.
She said media reports had raised questions surrounding contracts and third-party business practices in SA.
Fox-Martin said the company had initiated an independent investigation‚ which she would oversee.
Fox-Martin‚ who heads the company’s Europe‚ Middle East and Africa business‚ said in a statement: "SAP is committed to the highest standards of integrity and transparency.
"SAP has also launched an internal review and will make the results of the investigation public once concluded."
She said SAP’s South African management team had been placed on administrative leave pending the findings of the review.
"We strive to be exemplary in the manner in which we serve our customers and partners.… Full transparency and integrity are imperative at our company‚ and we will not tolerate any misconduct."
While it is not clear in all the cases how the Guptas obtained copies of the contracts‚ The Times has discovered numerous e-mails between SAP and Gupta company executives that were then forwarded to the Guptas via their lieutenants‚ Ashu Chawla and Salim Essa.