SAP's Adaire Fox-Martin on SA 'kickbacks' scandal - TechCentral

SAP’s Adaire Fox-Martin on SA ‘kickbacks’ scandal

SAP executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin

We’re departing from the usual interview format in this episode of the TechCentral podcast to bring you a very important teleconference press call with SAP executive board member Adaire Fox-Martin, who will be jetting into South Africa on Friday to deal with the scandal that has erupted around the German software maker’s local office.

In the call, which took place late on Thursday afternoon, Fox-Martin set out SAP’s position, its plan to conduct both an internal investigation and to commission an international law firm to do an external audit.

In case you missed the background to this story, SAP on Thursday placed four members of its South African management team on administrative leave and promised a wide-ranging probe into allegations of bribery and corruption involving the Guptas. The multinational law firm will “vigorously review contracts awarded by SAP South Africa”.

The reaction by SAP marks a distinct shift from the position it had taken earlier, when SAP Africa MD Brett Parker lashed out at local media outlets for publishing the allegations and threatening “various possible actions”.

The genesis of all of this was a report, published on the Daily Maverick and News24 on Tuesday and written by investigative journalism outfits amaBhungane and Scorpio, in which it is alleged that the software maker agreed to pay a 10% “sales commission” to a company controlled by the Guptas to secure a contract worth at least R100m from state-owned Transnet.

According to the report, the terms suggested a “thinly disguised kickback arrangement”. The press teleconference was a fiery affair, and we thought it particularly important to publish the full audio. Don’t miss it!

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  • Ronald Bartels

    Summary: So an international company believes it has the right to engage in corrupt practices and launch an internal cover up without transparency.

  • Johan

    What a waste of time. No answers of substance. At all. “We are going to be fully transparent.”. “Sorry I cannot answer your question until the investigation is complete.” , “Sorry I cannot give the terms of reference for the investigation”, “Sorry I cannot disclose who is doing the investigation”.

    So sure — maybe it is a difficult position but don’t use the term “fully transparent” if you are not going to be fully transparent.

  • John Recruit

    Not sure how you get to this point from the article and recording. They are taking action 2 days after the news broke. Give them space to do investigation and then critize, I understand that the whole south africa wants to throw eggs but jeez – put that horse back in the stable.

  • John Recruit

    Same as my comment above, how do you want them to be fully transparent when investigation started today? Do you want to go sit in the their offices and overlook what the forensic team is doing? Don’t get me wrong, SA Public deserves answers, but this isn’t some pop up shop. Let them do their work and then scrutinize.

  • Ronald Bartels

    Remember they still support the initial statement made that they have done nothing wrong. If that is the case then there is no need to investigate.
    They have also said they going to go after the media? Great example of transparency.
    Sorry, but give them space? Then they should not have claimed transparency. Transparency means that, not that we will only be transparent once we have been given some time. The horse has bolted.

  • John Recruit

    Innocent until proven guilty. What were they suppose to do in your eyes? The article releases, everyone is asking for a statement from SAP – if they said nothing then Article would have read “SAP Silent on possible Gupta link”, now that they have made a statement saying they will investigate then still it’s a problem. I am definitely not taking the side of SAP, but let business run it’s course – everyone has an opinion that counts it seems.

    I have some rope for you to catch that horse 😉