Germany software giant SAP in trouble in Zimbabwe over dodgy deal

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Multinational software giant SAP is in hot water over allegations that it used code names and set up a shelf company in Botswana to circumvent European Union (EU) sanctions imposed on the Zimbabwean government in the early 2000s.

According to a Sunday Times report, Twenty Third Century Systems (TTCS), a Zimbabwean company, is claiming approximately R1 billion from SAP for revenue losses resulting from the software giant terminating their agreements in 2019.

TTCS wrote to the United States Stock Exchange in 2021, accusing SAP of being involved in a scheme to circumvent EU sanctions against it.

“This was a clear effort on the part of SAP to avoid having to comply with the various sanctions and to continue doing business in Zimbabwe despite the sanctions,” said Ernest Zvinavashe, managing executive at TTCS.

“To date, TTCS Global does not have a single Botswana customer. Its sole purpose was to contract with SAP to supply SAP software solutions to Zimbabwean customers, through TTCS.”

AP global public relations head Marcus Winkler told the Sunday Times that the termination of its agreements with TTCS in 2019 was the result of an extensive investigation.

“SAP is currently in litigation with TTCS over SAP’s decision to terminate them. We do not comment on pending litigation,” he added.

The German-based software giant has also been in hot water in South Africa recently.

In January 2024, court documents revealed how SAP allegedly bribed Eskom officials to retain business with it and other parastatals.

The United States government brought the allegations against SAP.

According to the complaint, SAP falsely booked payments to intermediaries for sales-related services, while the intermediaries provided no services or products and lacked expertise in SAP’s business.

Despite this, the software giant paid the intermediaries owned by people closely associated with South African government officials.

It also allegedly falsely recorded the payments as commissions or similar expenses.

A text message exchange between a City of Johannesburg official and an SAP employee revealed a discussion surrounding a R2.2 million bribe and how to keep it quiet.

Earlier in January, the software giant agreed to pay $220 million (then-R4.1 billion) to resolve investigations into bribery allegations in South Africa and Indonesia.

The US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were behind the investigation.

“SAP paid bribes to officials at state-owned enterprises in South Africa and Indonesia to obtain valuable government business,” said Nicole Argentieri, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Argentieri’s department said the deal was coordinated with prosecution authorities in South Africa and the SEC.

The allegations against the software date back to South Africa’s state capture era, where former President Jacob Zuma and his administration were found to be involved with the Gupta business empire.

They cover the period between 2013 and 2017, and the company acknowledged that an internal investigation into its South African business revealed dodgy dealings with businesses related to the Gupta family.

Source – mybroadband