Software group SAP, accountancy business KPMG, and Consultancy firm McKinsey have been accused of criminal conduct by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), the companies regulator of South Africa.
The move appears as the authorities from South Africa are cracking down on businesses with connections to the controversial Gupta family. The Guptas are the friends of the president Jacob Zuma. They brought down Bell Pottinger, the PR firm, in 2017 when a court discovered that the campaign that was run by their Oakbay Capital business “was potentially racially divisive and/or potentially offensive and was created in breach of relevant ethical principles.”
A CIPC spokesperson said that the criminal complaints against the three companies were filed with the police of South Africa towards the end of 2017 for contravention of the Companies Act of the country.
The charges follow hot on the heels regarding an announcement from the National Prosecuting Authority in South Africa that it had frozen the assets of McKinsey amounting to 1.6bn rand (£94m).
This flowed from the work of McKinsey for Eskom, a state utility business, which the company undertook with Trillian Capital, a Gupta-linked local partner. A whistleblower cited Trillian of making use of its influence to funnel contracts at state-owned companies through to international companies.
Today, McKinsey denied that it had received a court order about the freezing of the assets of the company, and requested the authorities to pass the documents on.
A spokesperson stated: “We have no interest in being party to a contract entered into unlawfully by Eskom.”
The Guptas and Zuma have continued to deny any wrongdoing.