BERLIN, Germany, Oct 26 – Europe’s biggest software company SAP on Thursday said it has reported itself to US authorities, after apparently paying millions to companies linked to the South Africa’s influential Gupta family to secure public contracts.
The German software giant SAP had come under pressure following media reports that said it paid kickbacks to the Gupta family, which is at the centre of several graft allegations against South African President Jacob Zuma.
Following an internal probe, SAP said it was launching disciplinary proceedings against three employees and that it would scrap sales commissions on all public sector contracts in countries with a poor anti-corruption rating.
It also confirmed that the US Department of Justice, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, are investigating the company over the corruption allegations.
The company said its own probe had found it paid 94 million rand ($6.8 million) in sales commissions to Gupta-related companies, in two contracts related to freight logistics group Transnet and another two related to public utility giant Eskom.
The four contracts yielded some 660 million rand for SAP in revenues.
“The allegations of wrongdoing in our South African business have had a profound impact on our employees, customers and partners, and on the South African public and we apologise wholeheartedly for this,” said one of SAP’s top executives Adaire Fox-Martin, in a statement.
The three employees have been put on administrative leave.
And the company said it would eliminate all sales commission on all public sector deals in countries that scores below 50 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.
This means that in South Africa, such commissions would be scrapped immediately, as it scores 45 on the index.
The wealthy Gupta family has come under scrutiny and has been accused of exerting undue influence over Zuma.
Among a growing pile of corruption allegations against Zuma are accusations of unfairly granting lucrative government contracts to the Guptas and even taking their orders over ministerial appointments.
The South African leader denies all allegations.