SAP SUS­PENDS TEAM OVER AL­LEGED GUPTA KICK­BACKS

The Witness - - YOUR MONEY - — Fin24.

SOFT­WARE multi­na­tional firm SAP has sus­pended South Africa’s management team af­ter a #Gup­taLeaks ex­posé by Ama Bhun­gane and Scorpio re­vealed it al­legedly paid a Gupta front R100 mil­lion in kick­backs for state busi­ness.

SAP has ini­ti­ated an in­de­pen­dent ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion as well as an in­ter­nal probe into the mat­ter. The cur­rent management team has been placed on leave pend­ing the find­ings of the re­view, SAP said in a state­ment on Wed­nes­day.

SAP didn’t name the in­di­vid­u­als, but Fin24 un­der­stands they in­clude Brett Parker (MD Africa), Lawrence Kan­daswami (MD in SA), Deena Pil­lay (CFO South Africa) and Mehmood Khan (COO Africa).

“SAP has ini­ti­ated an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion spear­headed by a multi­na­tional law firm and over­seen by ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber Adaire Fox­Mar­tin to vig­or­ously re­view con­tracts awarded by SAP South Africa,” the firm said.

“SAP has also launched an in­ter­nal re­view as part of its ut­most com­mit­ment to com­pli­ance and will make the re­sults of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­lic once it is con­cluded.

“As a com­pany we’re ini­ti­at­ing a very thor­ough and very vig­or­ous in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Fox­Mar­tin told Reuters.

SAP said the me­dia re­ports raised ques­tions sur­round­ing con­tracts and third­party busi­ness prac­tices in the coun­try. “SAP rig­or­ously in­ves­ti­gates any al­le­ga­tions of wrong­do­ing in any of the more than 180 coun­tries where it op­er­ates,” it said.

Ama Bhun­gane and Scorpio re­vealed that in Au­gust 2015, SAP signed a “sales com­mis­sion” agree­ment with CAD House, what they call “a small Gupta­con­trolled com­pany that spe­cialises in sell­ing 3D print­ers”.

In the view of the in­ves­tiga­tive units, the terms sug­gest “a thinly­dis­guised kick­back ar­range­ment: If the Gupta com­pany were the ‘ef­fec­tive cause’ of SAP land­ing a Transnet con­tract worth R100 mil­lion or more, it would get 10%”.

SAP SA strongly re­jected al­le­ga­tions of kick­backs on Tues­day.

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