SAP beefs up leadership team amid Gupta probe

Cape Town - SAP Africa announced an interim leadership team after four executives were suspended pending the outcome of a forensic investigation into allegations that it paid a Gupta front company R100m in "kickbacks" for state business.

SAP Africa's new management team comprises Ashley Boag as acting chief operating officer; Peter David, chief financial officer for SAP EMEA and now acting CFO for Africa; local ICT industry veteran Pieter Bouwer as South African MD; and Claas Kuehnemann as acting managing director: SAP Africa.

SAP didn't name the individuals who were suspended, but Fin24 understands the team includes Brett Parker (MD Africa), Lawrence Kandaswami (MD South Africa), Deena Pillay (CFO South Africa) and Mehmood Khan (COO Africa).

Kuehnemann said the priority is to ensure the business continues to focus on driving revenue and growth across its local operations.

“It is important to us that all SAP staff, clients, and partners have the support they need, and that business continues uninterrupted,” he said in a statement on Friday.  

“We have appointed a strong leadership team to ensure our usual standards of service and strategic support are upheld.”

This comes after the company announced earlier 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 company R100m in "kickbacks" for state business.

AmaBhungane and Scorpio revealed that in August 2015, SAP signed a “sales commission" agreement with CAD House, what they call "a small Gupta-controlled company that specialises in selling 3D printers".

In the view of the investigative units, the terms suggest "a thinly-disguised kickback arrangement: If the Gupta company were the 'effective cause' of SAP landing a Transnet contract worth R100m or more, it would get 10%".

SAP ended up paying CAD House R99.9m, which suggests that SAP "used the Gupta influence network to drive sales of a billion rand to Transnet and other state-owned companies", according to the report.

SAP previously announced that it had appointed multinational law firm Baker McKenzie to lead the external investigation in concert with other global experts such as forensic firm FTI Consulting.

The Democratic Alliance said 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.

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