SAP has appointed Claas Kuehnemann as interim MD for Africa following the suspension this week of MD Brett Parker over allegations that the software maker paid bribes to a Gupta-owned company to secure a profitable contract at Transnet.
The journalism units’ amaBhungane and Scorpio reported that the German enterprise software vendor placed four executives from its Africa office, including Parker, on “administrative leave” this week over the allegations, which were published on the Daily Maverick and News24.
Last week the SAP said that it would conduct an internal investigation and hire an international law firm to do an external probe into the allegations. It has also now named that law firm.
According to the report, the terms suggested a “finely hidden bribe arrangement”. The report alleged that SAP paid a 10% “sales commission” to a company controlled by the Guptas to secure a contract worth at least R100m from state-owned Transnet.
The report, which drew on information contained in the so-called “Gupta Leaks” e-mail trove, said that in August 2015 SAP signed a “sales commission agreement” with the Gupta-controlled CAD House, which sells 3D printers.
“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%,” the report stated. In the year that followed, SAP paid CAD House R99.9m, it added, “Suggesting SAP used the Gupta influence network to drive sales of a billion rand to Transnet and other state-owned companies”.
Kuehnemann, who has been with SAP since 1992, will assume all MD responsibilities across the company’s Africa portfolio, totaling 51 countries.