German software firm SAP has agreed to pay US regulators a whopping $222 million (Sh35.52 billion) in fines to settle a probe into bribery to bag tenders in Kenya and six other countries.

US authorities revealed last week that they had been investigating SAP Africa for bribing Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) officers and other government officials across the globe.

US Department of Justice said SAP agreed to a three-year deal to defer prosecution to settle criminal charges that it schemed to bribe public officers in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, Indonesia and Azerbaijan to secure lucrative business deals.

The German software company also struck a civil settlement with America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the widespread bribery plots touching in six countries.

It was found that SAP Africa corruptly influenced a KRA software tender in 2015 and that a reseller based in Zimbabwe was used to do business in Kenya, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania.

KRA rolled out the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in November 2016 indicating that it would improve efficiency with the firm’s advanced real-time and in-memory technology. 

According to US regulators, the secret negotiator rigged bids and made corrupt payments to state officers to bag deals for SAP Africa in the four countries between 2014 and 2018.

“SAP Africa again used GA Intermediary to help it improperly influence a tender by the KRA in 2015,” SEC revealed in its explosive filings in the US.

SAP Africa Kenya Country Manager, according to SEC, shared details of a tender by Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) with an account executive in a flashdisk to help them bag the tender.

The firm is revealed to have used bribe facilitators to corruptly pay TPA officials in exchange for the key materials on procurement requirement that aided SAP Africa to win the tender.

In a statement, US Attorney Jessica Aber of the Eastern District of Virginia said SAP had accepted responsibility for engaging in corrupt practices that upset honest businesses.

The US Department of Justice revealed that the settlement by SAP Africa included a $118.8 million (Sh19 billion) criminal fine and $103.4 million (Sh16.5 billion) of penalization.

The said bribery plots are reported to have involved faking books and official records to make the payoffs look like genuine business costs and occurred between 2013 and 2022.

In a statement, SAP welcomed the settlements with SEC with US set to drop the criminal charges after three years if the software company wil have fully complied with the deal.

SAP promotes its software globally through its affiliated companies in South Africa, Greater Africa (covering Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi), as well as Indonesia, and Azerbaijan.