- Says the Mphokos won’t get another thebe from Choppies
- The Mphokos want P250m from Choppies
Former Zimbabwean vice president Phelekezela Mphoko and his son Siqokoqela will not get even a thebe from Choppies Retail Stores because the company does not owe them any money, the CEO of Choppies, Ramachandran Ottapathu, has said.
“We paid them the settlement fees that they agreed to and they are no longer a part of Choppies,” Ram said in an interview. “They enjoyed their money comfortably and after two years when their money has run out, they want to get more. We will not be paying them anything.”
In 2019, Choppies paid the Mphokos US$2, 9 million (about P31 million) to buy their shares in Choppies Supermarket Zimbabwe. The settlement was the result of nasty hostile battles between the Mphokos and Choppies headquarters in Botswana over ownership of Choppies Zimbabwe.
The father and son pair insisted they were the majority shareholders in Choppies Zimbabwe with 51 percent through their investment vehicle, Nanavac, while Choppies headquarters argued otherwise, saying that the Mphokos’ stake was only 7 percent given to them freely.
Two years later, the two parties are back in court.
Reports from Zimbabwe say the Bulawayo High Court has agreed to hear the Mphokos’ claim of US$22.5 million against Choppies. The company’s attorney, Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga, told The Botswana Gazette yesterday that Choppies filed application for exception in August not to block the matter from reaching the court but to seek clarity on the Mphokos’ demands.
“We honestly do not understand where the US$22.5 million comes from,” Nzarayapenga said. “The reason why we filed for exception was to understand where their demand comes from. As far as we understand, the Mphokos were paid the settlement out of Choppies and that is well documented.”
The Mphokos and their ex-lawyer fight over Choppies settlement
Meanwhile, the Mphokos are pressing ahead with their legal suit against their former lawyer, Welsman Ncube, over the US$2.9 million paid as a settlement by Choppies in 2019. According to statements made by the Mphokos, Ncube gave them only $517 000 and $730 219 from the US$2.9 million.
The matter is also before the Bulawayo High Court.