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Cape Town – Multinational software giants, SAP will have to contend with criminal charges against it after the Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would prefer the company be held legally liable for its alleged dealings with the Gupta family.

Natasha Mazzone, the DA’s shadow minister of Public Enterprises, says it is not enough that the company had suspend its senior executives as it believes the alleged bribes were known in the top echelons of SAP.   

“The DA will lay charges of money laundering and corruption against the South African component of global software giant, SAP, and Gupta-affiliated company CAD House, following allegations of R100 million in kickbacks changed hands between the two companies,” Mazzone says.

SAP has in recent weeks been embroiled in a multi million rand bribery scandal with allegations that R100 million in kickbacks changed hands between it and CAD House. It is further alleged that the two companies had  a sales commission agreement, where 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.

Business Report has previously reported that last year, SAP settled for $3.9m to settle the Panama government bribery case where one of its executives was found to have paid bribes to officials in the Panama government to land lucrative state contracts.  The executive’s scheme was thought to have run from at least 2009 to 2013. At the centre of the bribery was to sell SAP’s software at discounts of up to 82 percent through an SAP partner in Panama with the intention to build up a slush fund to pay for bribes.

Mazzone says the said agreement has hallmark of a corrupt deal and that the affected companies should be held accountable.

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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.

SAP has since announced 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 by law firm Baker McKenzie.  The suspended executive team headed by Brett Parker, has previously denied any wrongdoing.   Parker is the managing directors of SAP Africa.

Other suspended executive are Deena Pillay, who serves as the chief financial officer of SAP Africa, Lawrence Kandaswami, who is the managing director of SAP South Africa and Mehmood Khan, who is the chief operating officer of  SAP Africa.