SAP names acting executive team, law firm for SA probe

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However, Fox-Martin, who is heading for South Africa to deal with the allegations, said the company was concerned about the media reports that had emerged about the company's conduct in South Africa.

"Claas is a veteran SAP executive who has held various senior leadership positions throughout the company across different geographies - he has the full backing and trust of the SAP executive board", said Adaire Fox-Martin, executive board member for global customer operations, who flew into South Africa on Friday to oversee the investigation.

An investigation by amaBhungane and Scorpio of the leaked Gupta emails showed that in order toclinch Transnet business, SAP agreed to pay 10 percent "sales commission" to a company controlled by the Guptas.

The German company has hired an independent worldwide law firm based in the United States to conduct an external investigation and also will run its own, internal probe using SAP's compliance organisation, she said.

In the year to follow, SAP paid the company, CAD House, a whopping R99.9-million, suggesting SAP used the Gupta influence network to drive sales of a billion rand to Transnet and other state-owned companies. As part of its day to day business, SAP South Africa engages various subcontractors, SMMEs and partners and it has always been and will continue to be SAP's policy to partner with a wide pool of organisations that qualify for our partner programme, if those organisations successfully meet the exacting criteria of our comprehensive global due diligence and certification processes. A Gupta family spokesman and Zuma's spokesman did not respond to calls and emails for comment on the SAP story. "All queries related to our suppliers and any third parties should be raised with them directly", the company said, referring to SAP.

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The German-based company will also not say what the terms of reference are for its own internal forensic review.

"We feel that a fast reaction to this, indicating that we are working to get to the bottom of this, will actually indicate the seriousness with which SAP takes these allegations and our intention to conduct a fully transparent investigation on this", Fox-Martin said.

However, this would not be a first corruption to hit the German giants in recent times.

Last year, SAP paid almost $3.9 million in fines after an executive tried to bribe government officials in Panama.

The Guptas, Indian-born South Africans, and Zuma have denied wrongdoing.

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