DA wants SAP #Guptaleaks probed at much higher level

Cape Town - The possibility of irregular practices at much higher levels at global software giant SAP than just allegations relating to its SA operations should be investigated, Natasha Mazzone, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of public enterprises, said on Monday.

She was reacting to SAP's announcement last week that it has suspended four unnamed executives in South Africa. SAP continues to deny any wrongdoing.

The DA believes it is not enough for SAP to use the SA executives as what it calls "scapegoats". The party announced on Monday that it intends to lay charges of money laundering and corruption against the South African component of SAP, as well as what it calls "Gupta-affiliated" CAD House.

This follows allegations that R100m in "kickbacks" changed hands between the two companies.

SAP announced on Friday that Claas Kuehnemann will step into the role of acting managing director for Africa while the company’s investigation into its South Africa business is conducted.

The company announced earlier last week that four employees in SA have been placed on "administrative leave" pending the outcome of an investigation after a #GuptaLeaks exposé by AmaBhungane and Scorpio revealed it allegedly paid a Gupta front R100m in "kickbacks" for state business.

READ: SAP names those tackling #Guptaleaks allegations

The DA claims that, in a sales commission agreement, SAP appointed CAD House on a consultancy basis and agreed to pay them 10% in sales commission, if the company helped them secure a Transnet contract.

In the DA's view, this consultancy is "rather irregular considering that SAP is an international software giant which had existing contracts with Transnet".

That is why the party feels these dealings must have gone higher up in SAP and all those involved should be held accountable.

Mazzone said in a statement that CAD House is a small company, which specialises in selling 3D printers and which allegedly had no previous relationships with SAP or expertise in this field. That is why the DA claims that it has reason to believe that SAP SA procured the services of CAD House "purely because they wanted access to its owners - Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas’ - connections within Transnet with a view to securing a lucrative contract".

The DA intends to proceed to lay charges of corruption and money laundering against the directors and employees of SAP South Africa and of members and employees of CAD House as well as "any other person who had material interests in the deal".

Furthermore, the DA says it is not the first time SAP "has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar" internationally.

20:45 update: SAP responds to DA

SAP said they took note of the DA media statement, but said they want to conclude the investigation before offering any new comments.

"As previously communicated, SAP has initiated an investigation into the allegations and has, consistent with company policy, placed the current management team on administrative leave pending the findings of this investigation," it said in a statement on Monday.

"SAP strongly adheres to its Global Code of Business Conduct and stands for integrity, transparency and compliance. SAP is committed to the highest standards of business ethics and seeks to ensure that all transactions are carried out transparently and in accordance with the letter and spirit of applicable laws."

It said it "will not be making any further comment related to the DA media statement until it has concluded its investigation".

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