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SAP suspends SA staff after allegations of Gupta kickbacks

13 July 2017 - 06:45 By Graeme Hosken
Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Sahara director, Duduzane Zuma at the New Age newspaper's offices in Midrand in March 2011
Indian businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta, and Sahara director, Duduzane Zuma at the New Age newspaper's offices in Midrand in March 2011
Image: Gallo Images/City Press/Muntu Vilakazi

Global software giant SAP has launched an anti-corruption investigation into allegations that its South African staff arranged kickbacks for a Gupta-linked firm 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 multimillion-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 emails 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 R130-million‚ 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 South Africa would now be placed under review.

She said media reports had raised questions surrounding contracts and third-party business practices in South Africa.

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 South Africa's management team has 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 emails between SAP and Gupta company executives‚ which were then forwarded to the Guptas via their lieutenants‚ Ashu Chawla and Salim Essa.

- TimesLIVE