SAP Suspends SA Staff, begin Gupta Kickback Investigation

Software AG, Gupta, Scandal, Kickbacks, South Africa, Corruption, Report, GuptaLeaks
Ajay and Atul Gupta (Image Source: Mail & Guardian)

Ajay and Atul Gupta (Image Source: Mail & Guardian)
Ajay and Atul Gupta (Image Source: Mail & Guardian)

SAP’s international office has initiated an independent investigation into contracts awarded by SAP South Africa. In a statement released yesterday, the software giant announced that its South African management team has been placed on administrative leave pending the findings of the investigation.

The investigation will be spearheaded by a multinational law firm and overseen by Executive Board Member Adaire Fox-Martin. This comes after reports emerged on Tuesday that SAP South Africa was involved in an alleged R100m kickback involving the infamous Gupta family.

SAP Africa MD Brett Parker said on Wednesday that the company “strongly rejects allegations of kickbacks recently made by some South Africa-based media”.

He added that, “The accusations made around the use and payment of subcontractors are unfounded and unsubstantiated. SAP is dedicated to conducting every aspect of our business responsibly and in accordance with the highest global compliance and legal standards.”

Meanwhile Susan Comrie, a journalist at amaBhungane, the organisation that broke the story, said that she was surprised by SAP’s response. “We interviewed SAP’s local officials about this. We interviewed senior executives from SAP in South Africa. They admitted to paying this money and entering into a sale agreement with this company.”

These stories have lead the SAP head office, based in Germany, to emphasise that the company “embodies an unwavering commitment to maintain the highest standards of integrity and transparency across its business.”

According to a statement released by the software giant, their belief in integrity and transparency is unwavering; “SAP stands for integrity, transparency and compliance,” said Fox-Martin, who leads SAP’s business in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Greater China. “We strive to be exemplary in the manner in which we serve our customers and partners, and in how we treat our employees. Full transparency and integrity are imperative at our company, and we will not tolerate any misconduct.”

Fox-Martin is currently traveling to South Africa to address the concerns of customers, partners and employees.

By Dean Workman