EOH, Buffeted by an Anonymous Tip, Starts Whistle-Blower App

(Bloomberg) -- EOH Holdings Ltd., the South African IT company reeling after an anonymous complaint prompted Microsoft Corp. to abruptly cancel a contract, has created an app that will make that process easier for future whistle-blowers.

Expose-It, which was made available for download on Monday, enables those with sensitive information about their company or organization to pass it on to relevant authorities without fear of being identified. The app is designed to encourage “the safe, anonymous exposure of wrongdoing, both within EOH and without,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen van Coller said in an email to employees.

The irony of the timing won’t be lost on staff. EOH shares plunged last week after Microsoft Corp. ended its association with the South African company. Johannesburg’s TechCentral website reported that a whistle blower’s allegations about a South African government software deal were behind the U.S. software giant’s decision. EOH’s public sector contracts have long been a matter of scrutiny, and the company said on Tuesday that it’s probing all such deals over the past five years with the help of a law firm.

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Van Coller, a former executive of lender Absa Group Ltd. and wireless carrier MTN Group Ltd., was brought in by EOH last year partly to restore the company’s reputation and boost corporate governance. The shares dropped 16 percent on Tuesday, extending losses over the past 12 months to 77 percent, the second-worst performer on the South African benchmark index over the period.

“Compliance is critical to our reputation, but as the old saying goes, culture eats governance for breakfast,” Van Coller said in his email introducing Expose-It to staff. The app “will help further elevate our corporate culture.”

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