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DA Will Lay Criminal Charges Against SAP, Gupta-Linked CAD House Amid R100M Kickback Claims

The party on Monday said it is "not the first time SAP has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar".

17/07/2017 11:55 SAST | Updated 17/07/2017 12:56 SAST
Ralph Orlowski / Reuters
SAP logo at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, January 24, 2017.

The Democratic Alliance will lay charges of money laundering and corruption against the South African subsidiary of SAP and Gupta-affiliated company CAD House in light of allegations of kickbacks between the two companies.

The DA's announcement follows a series of emails obtained by amaBhungane and Scorpio suggesting the German-based software company SAP paid over R100 million in kickbacks to CAD House -- a Gupta-owned front company -- to secure a deal with Transnet.

The opposition party said it believes SAP South Africa only procured the services of CAD House to access the connections of its owners -- Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas -- with Transnet in hopes of "securing a lucrative contract", DA spokesperson for public enterprises Natasha Mazzone said on Monday.

Last week, SAP's executive board placed its South African management team on "administrative leave" pending an investigation by a Chicago-based international law firm, Baker McKenzie, into allegations of corruption directed at the company.

Read: SAP Suspends Four Employees After R100m Gupta Kickback Claims

"This consultancy is rather irregular considering that SAP is an international software giant which had existing contracts with Transnet. Furthermore, 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," Mazzone said on Monday.

The party said it will lay charges of corruption and money laundering against directors and employees of SAP South Africa, members and employees of CAD House, as well as "any other person who had material interests in this dodgy deal".

Mazzone said it was not enough that SAP has launched an internal investigation and suspended key executives in South Africa. "These dealings must have gone higher up in SAP and all those involved should be held accountable", said the DA.

Hands in the 'cookie jar'
"This is not the first time SAP has been caught with its hands in the cookie jar. The firm has previously been found guilty of bribery in numerous countries and the revelations that SAP South Africa had ignored a number of red flags about CAD House is even further cause for concern," said Mazzone.

The party also criticised Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. "He is one man [that] seems to be the spider at the centre of the web [of] dodgy dealings at state-owned entities." It said the SAP deal was the seventh dodgy deal that happened under Gigaba's watch as Public Enterprises Minister and "it is highly unlikely that this is coincidental".

"Where there is smoke there is fire," Mazzone said.

Meanwhile SAP has appointed an acting managing director and acting chief financial officer at its South African subsidiary following its suspension of the local management team.

The interim boss has been named as Claas Keuhnemann -- who has been with SAP for 25 years -- and the interim chief financial officer as Peter David who is the regional CFO for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

SAP rejects allegations
Following initial allegations of corruption based on journalistic reports, SAP said at the time that it "strongly rejects allegations of kickbacks recently made by some South Africa-based media".

"The accusations made around the use and payment of subcontractors are unfounded and unsubstantiated. SAP is dedicated to conducting every aspect of our business respon––sibly and in accordance with the highest global compliance and legal standards," SAP executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin said on July 13.

SAP "rigorously investigates any allegations of wrongdoing in any of the more than 180 countries where it operates", the statement said.