German software giant SAP’s surprise move last week to voluntarily report itself to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might see the group receive a slap on the wrist in the bribery scandal engulfing the group’s South African operations.
Andrea Cornelli, the chief executive of Andrea Technology Corporate Management (TCM), said it was suspicious that SAP first denied paying kickbacks, but had now admitted that millions of rand exchanged hands when getting work from Transnet and Eskom.
SAP had not reported themselves to the DoJ for ethical reasons, but rather, it was a pure business decision, Cornelli said.
“The FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practice Act) discounts the huge fines by 50percent if the perpetrators self-investigate and report the violations, rather than being found by the DoJ to have violated the act,” he said.
Both the DoJ and SEC are now investigating the company for potential violations of the FCPA.
Earlier this year, reports emerged that SAP paid a 10percent sales commission to a Gupta-controlled firm called CAD House – which specialises in selling 3D printers – to clinch the deal it secured with state rail firm Transnet.