DA to lay criminal charges against SAP

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The logo of German software giant SAP is pictured at the company's headquarters in Walldorf near Heidelberg, southern Germany, on January 24, 2017.

JOHANNESBURG – The DA said on Monday it will file a criminal complaint against German software giant SAP over allegations of corruption involving friends of President Jacob Zuma.

SAP, Europe's top technology company, last week put four senior managers in South Africa on leave and opened an investigation into reports that dragged the company into an escalating influence-peddling scandal.

The company allegedly paid kickbacks to CAD House, a firm partly-owned by the politically connected Gupta family and Zuma's son Duduzane. The payments allegedly helped SAP clinch a deal worth R1-billion with rail and logistics parastatal Transnet.

READ: DA urges Public Protector to release Gupta reports

CAD House sells 3-D printers and has no software experience that would make it a logical go-between for SAP and Transnet.

"The DA has reason to believe that SAP South Africa procured the services of CAD House purely because they wanted access to its owners, Duduzane Zuma and the Guptas," the DA said in a statement.

"The DA will, therefore, proceed to lay charges of corruption and money laundering against (SAP South Africa and CAD House)."

Reuters was not able to independently verify the allegations.

A Gupta spokesman, CAD House, SAP and a spokesman for Zuma did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Guptas and Zuma previously denied wrongdoing.

READ: Software giant exposed in Guptaleaks

SAP hired an independent international law firm based in the United States to conduct an external investigation and also will run its own internal inquiry.

"We've obviously seen the claims in the media. And we're taking these extremely, very, very seriously." Adaire Fox-Martin, SAP co-president for global customer operations, told Reuters in an interview on July 12.

Some members of the ANC called for Zuma to step down over allegations the Gupta family influenced government contracts and cabinet positions.

In 2015, then-deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said the Gupta family had offered him R600-million to secure the job of finance minister. The Guptas denied making any offer to Jonas.

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In June, more than 100,000 documents and emails - known as the #GuptaLeaks - purported to be from inside the Gupta commercial empire were leaked to four South African media organisations. The Gupta family has not questioned the authenticity of the documents.

Also on Monday, the news outlet Daily Maverick reported the Swiss heavy-equipment company Liebherr had made payments to politically connected individuals in South Africa as it sought contracts to supply cranes to the nation's ports.

Liebherr said on Monday it was investigating the allegations.