Mphoko family pulls out of Choppies

FORMER Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s family has disinvested from the Choppies retail chain, ending a nasty dispute for control of the supermarket chain that had spilled into the courts, and led to the arrest of his son Siqokoqela and daughter-in-law Nomagugu.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Mphoko’s family was engaged in a nasty ownership wrangle with their Botswana-registered Choppies Distribution Centre (Proprietary) Limited business partners fronted by former President Festus Mogae

Mphoko and Siqokoqela insisted they were the majority shareholders of Choppies Zimbabwe through their local investment vehicle, Nanavac, with 51%.

However, the Botswana-headquartered business argued otherwise, saying the Mphokos only owned 7% given to them for free.

The Choppies boardroom war spilled into the High Court, with the Botswana-headquartered company seeking to bar the Mphoko family from interfering with operations of the business.

The High Court is yet to decide on the matter.

“We have been instructed by our clients, Choppies Enterprises Limited and the Hon Phelekezela Mphoko and Siqokoqela Mphoko to advise the public and all staff of Nanavac investments (Pvt) Ltd trading as Choppies Supermarkets Zimbabwe, that the shareholders and directors of Nanavac Investments (Pvt) Ltd have amicably resolved and settled all issues, matters, cases and disputes between them and amongst themselves so that there are no longer any outstanding issues between our respective clients, who further advise that the Mphokos have further disinvested from Nanavac Investments (Pvt) Ltd trading as Choppies Supermarkets Zimbabwe, and have no further interests in the company and the business,” read a joint statement issued by their lawyers recently.

The Mphoko family was represented by Welshman Ncube, Mathonsi Law Chambers with Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners representing the Botswana-headquartered business.

As the boardroom war boiled over, Choppies group chief executive Ottapathu Ramachandran revealed that the Mphokos did not pay anything for the shares, but were “greased with the shares” to circumvent Zimbabwe’s controversial indigenisation laws.

Mphoko’s son Siqokoqela and his wife Nomagugu were also dragged to court on charges of interfering with the operations of Choppies Distribution Centre and Choppies Enterprises and swindling the businesses of a combined $80 000 as the fight for the retail giant turned nasty.

source: newsday

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