Europe’s top technology company, SAP, has put four senior managers in South Africa on leave and begun a probe into reports that have dragged the company into an influence peddling scandal involving friends of President Jacob Zuma.
South African media on Tuesday reported allegations that SAP paid kickbacks in the form of sales commissions to a firm linked to the politically connected Gupta family, helping SAP clinch a deal worth 1 billion rand ($76 million) with rail and logistics company Transnet and other state-owned firms.
AmaBhungane, a non-profit investigative reporting group that has a strong record of exposing corruption, named SAP in a story based on leaked emails and documents that it says show how the Gupta family unduly influences the awarding of government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
SAP co-president for global customer operations, Adaire Fox-Martin in= an exclusive interview with Reuters on Wednesday, said SAP was putting the executives on administrative leave, pending the outcome of internal and external investigations that the company has initiated.
The German company has hired an independent international 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.
SAP declined to name the four management-level employees or their job titles.
Reuters has not been able to independently verify the allegations.