Legal View

T-Systems SA MD addresses #GuptaLeaks allegations

Read time 2min 20sec
T-Systems SA MD Gert Schoonbee.
T-Systems SA MD Gert Schoonbee.

T-Systems SA MD Gert Schoonbee says the company has not made any irregular payments nor has it forced anyone to make irregular payments, and it is not wasting South African taxpayers' funds.

Schoonbee, speaking at the company's annual InTouch 2017 event in Midrand today, said he felt the need to address the "issue" at this point as there are numerous incorrect statements in media reports.

"I want to use this opportunity to say a few things. We are doing intensive investigations, not only locally but in alignment and compliance with T-Systems International and Deutsche Telekom standards. We are using internal and external resources to [acquire the best] lawyers and forensic experts prior to taking any action. It is not our job to be judges but it is our job to protect our reputation and to adhere to the highest complying standards."

Schoonbee continued that if needs be, following proper investigations, the company will not hesitate to terminate "certain relationships".

An amaBhungane report raised questions on the IT company's contracts with Transnet and Eskom. The report alleged T-Systems supplier development partner Sechaba Computer Services had paid kick-back money to Homix, a Gupta-linked letterbox company exposed last year in a kickback scandal involving Neotel.

T-Systems has been the biggest ICT supplier to state-owned entities Transnet and Eskom since 2010, when it acquired state-owned IT services provider Arivia.kom.

According to the #GuptaLeaks report based on a series of leaked e-mails, Sechaba chief executive Krisen Naidoo had said his company contracted Homix director Yakub Bhikhu as "external sales services consultant to expand our international sales pipeline", but that it ended the relationship after seven months when Bhikhu did not deliver.

Naidoo further added that Sechaba dealt only with Bhikhu and assumed Homix "was simply the company he traded under for billing purposes".

The investigative report concludes that Sechaba paid Homix a monthly average of R345 000 over five months of identified payments between November 2014 and March 2015.

Schoonbee says T-Systems strictly does business based on its standard principles, which include having a proper contract with clearly defined services and products, market-related price and no undue influence on the deal.

"I'm extremely proud of the journey that we have [forged] with Eskom and Transnet thus far...of the value that we've added, the service that we've provided as well as the price points that we've provided those services at," he noted.

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