SAP accused of ‘improper conduct’ over East Africa contracts

SAP has been accused of “improper conduct” related to dealings by a
services partner to win state contracts in Kenya and Tanzania, a claim
that could plunge the German software giant into a second African
corruption scandal in as many years.

The graft allegations, which are being investigated by US
authorities, relate to deals in 2014 and 2015, the Walldorf-based
company said in an emailed statement on Thursday. SAP and Twenty Third
Century Systems, a partner across Africa and the Middle East, have since
made management changes and strengthened compliance, SAP said.

The news comes a year after SAP
said it paid R128.6m to companies linked to the Gupta family, who are accused of numerous cases of
state-related corruption. The US Department of Justice and the US
Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the company in
relation to those deals as well.

“Our policy is, and always will be, to carry out all company
activities in accordance with the letter and spirit of applicable laws,”
SAP said.

The fresh allegations were first reported by South African website
TechCentral, which said TTCS allegedly bribed officials at the Tanzania
Ports Authority with $800 000 to win a $6.6m contract. The claims
were made by a whistleblower and lodged in the US, according to the
website.

SAP’s partner, TTCS, is 49% owned by

EOH, a Johannesburg-based IT firm that’s already embroiled
in allegations of corruption regarding South African government
contracts. The latest claims relate to a time before its investment in
TTCS, and EOH was unaware of them when agreeing to the deal, an EOH
spokesperson said.

“It was before our time and we have provided SAP with any information we have on the matter,” she said.

SAP shares closed 0.4% higher at €94.20 at the close in Frankfurt, valuing the company at €115bn.

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