The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined consultancy Gartner $2.44-million (R50-million) for its role in State capture linked to the South African Revenue Service (Sars).
Gartner agreed to pay the fine without confirming or denying the SEC's findings.
According to the SEC, the US consultancy violated anti-bribery and internal accounting control provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act between December 2014 to August 2015 in its work at Sars.
"Gartner entered into a corrupt arrangement with a private South African company with close ties to South African government officials, knowing or consciously disregarding that all or part of the money paid to the private company would be used to bribe government officials to influence the award of consulting contracts to Gartner," states the SEC.
IT modernisation drive
The enforcement order states that a South African sales agent for Gartner helped draft the terms of reference for a multi-million rand IT review project at Sars that it later won.
Gartner was brought into the project by an unnamed "private company" in 2014, whose executive director was a "close friend" of a senior Sars senior official.
This appears to be a reference to Patrick Monyeki, a friend of former Sars commissioner Tom Moyane, and his company Rangewave Consulting.
Once Gartner won the IT project, it employed four people linked to Rangewave as consultants.
When the US consultancy later won an even larger IT contract at the tax agency, it again engaged people linked to Rangewave as consultants.
In total, Gartner earned around R200-million from the contracts. Around 30% to 40% of these fees may have gone to consultants linked to Rangewave.
The order notes that Gartner kept employing the consultants despite internal risk assessments identifying the company as a potential "bribery red flag".
The Nugent Commission of Inquiry had already questioned back in 2018 why consultants linked to Ranegwave had been employed at all by Gartner in its work at Sars.
The inquiry's chairperson, retired Judge Robert Nugent, noted in his final report that Neville Willemse, who represented Gartner in its work at Sars, could not give a reasonable explanation for Gartner's links to Rangewave.
"We were not at all impressed by the evidence of Mr Willemse, who prevaricated and avoided direct answers to questions," he said.
"We are also sceptical of his evidence that he had no knowledge of Mr Monyeki’s relationship with Sars, but if that is indeed true, he should have ensured that he did know."
And as to the work that Garner and the consultant carried out, it turned out to be "largely worthless" as Sars never implemented any of it.
Nugent recommended that Sars commence proceedings to set aside the Gartner contracts and recover fees that added "no value" to Sars.