[dropcap]F[/dropcap]irst it was SAP. Now another German software multinational, Software AG, has been drawn into an alleged kickbacks scandal involving the Guptas.
According to a report published on News24 and the Daily Maverick on Tuesday, Software AG entered into an “apparent kickback agreement” with Gupta-controlled Global Softech Solutions (GSS) to secure a R180m contract from Transnet Freight Rail.
It reportedly agreed to pay the company as much as 35% of the value of contracts it secured with Transnet, MultiChoice, Sasol, the department of correctional services and the Mangaung (Bloemfontein) municipality.
MultiChoice and Sasol reportedly confirmed discussions with Software AG, with MultiChoice placing business with the company, but both firm denied any knowledge of GSS.
According to the report, Sahara Systems, which is owned by the Guptas, was in the process of buying into GSS at the time. It alleged that Software AG sales director Riaaz Jeena created a second sales commission deal, “seemingly to ensure he, too, would receive a slice of the pie”.
“It is not clear how much money flowed from Software AG to GSS as several of the opportunities identified did not materialise,” the report said. “But there is very little evidence that GSS earned its fees by identifying leads or doing the sales legwork.
“As with SAP, the Software AG commission agreement comes across as stage managed to disguise payments to politically connected people and their companies, in essence an apparent kickback for helping Software AG to secure business.”
Software AG, the second largest software company in Germany after SAP, operates in more than 70 countries around the world. It is traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and boasts 10 000 business customers globally. It is best known for its Adabas database management system and its Natural development language.
The latest revelations come two weeks after SAP found itself caught up in allegations that it, too, had paid kickbacks to a Gupta-controlled company — CAD House — to secure business from Transnet and other government entities.
That report, also written by investigative journalism outfits amaBhungane and Scorpio, led to SAP suspending its top four executives in South Africa, including SAP Africa MD Brett Parker and SAP South Africa MD Lawrence Kandaswami, pending the outcome of an internal and external investigation.
SAP board member Adaire Fox-Martin jetted into the country 10 days ago to deal with the fallout. She has promised to publish the findings of the investigations (listen to the audio transcript of a press call she held on 13 July).
According to the new report, Software AG has confirmed its relationship with Global Softech Solutions, but has denied wrongdoing. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media