Claas Kuehnemann has been named as the acting MD of SAP Africa while the company investigates allegations of kickbacks to a Gupta-linked company.

Peter David, regional chief financial officer of SAP EMEA will step into the role of acting chief financial officer for SAP Africa.

The senior management team has been placed on administrative leave while SAP conducts an internal forensic probe together with an investigation by multinational law firm Baker McKenzie.

Keuhnemann is well-known to SAP’s South African and African customers. He began working at the SAP subsidiary in South Africa back in 1992, and has played various roles in the company since then.

“Claas is a veteran SAP executive who has held various senior leadership positions throughout the company across different geographies,” says Adaire Fox-Martin, the executive board member for global customer operations who landed in South Africa this morning (14 July) to oversee the investigation.

On Tuesday, amaBhungane broke a report that suggests SAP South Africa paid kickbacks in the form of sales commissions to CAD House, a Gupta-aligned company, to secure a R100-million Transnet contract.

Kuehnemann has held various executive roles at SAP, including senior vice-president: professional services overseeing SAP’s consulting business in EMEA based in Paris, MD: Africa based in Johannesburg as well as MD for the South-East Europe & Middle East region based out of Dubai.

“The SAP Africa management team will continue to deliver on its promise to help African business run optimally,” says Kuehnemann. “My interim role is to support our employees, customers and partners across all our business sectors while the due diligence process is conducted.”

Baker McKenzie, the external investigator named today to lead the external investigation, will work with other global experts such as forensic firm FTI Consulting.