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 reported on Tuesday that SAP paid alleged kickbacks in the form of sales commissions to a firm linked to the politically connected Gupta family, helping SAP clinch a deal worth R1 billion ($76 million) with rail and logistics company Transnet and other state-owned firms.
The ruling African National Congress party has been damaged by leaked emails appearing to show fraud in the awarding of state contracts.
“We’ve obviously seen the claims in the media. And we’re taking these extremely, very, very seriously.” Adaire Fox-Martin, co-president for global customer operations, told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
In a press statement released late Wednesday, SAP said Fox-Martin is currently traveling to South Africa to address the concerns of customers, partners and employees.
The company also reaffirmed its commitment to “integrity, transparency and compliance”, saying it would not tolerate any misconduct.
SAP said it would make the results of its internal investigation public once it is concluded.