Choppies gives Mphokos golden handshake

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TINASHE MAKICHI

Regional retail group, Choppies, is reported to have offered former director Siqokoqela Mphoko a golden handshake bringing to an end a once rosy relationship that had turned acrimonious.

This comes after former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s family disinvested from the Choppies retail chain, ending a nasty dispute for control of the supermarket chain which had spilled into the courts, leading to the arrest of his son Siqokoqela for fraud and
daughter-in-law Nomagugu.

A source close to developments told Business Times that following a period of detention for Siqokoqela over fraud allegations, the VP’s son met Choppies executives where a golden handshake, which includes an undisclosed amount of money, was availed.

Contacted for comment, Choppies group chief executive Ram Ottapathu said the retail group was happy with the outcome of the discussions and excited to have control of all aspects of its business in Zimbabwe.

“Choppies Enterprises now has 100 percent ownership of its stores throughout the country. This was made possible by a resolution to our legal disputes with the Mphoko family. While I cannot divulge the details of the agreement, I am pleased to say that Choppies is happy with the outcome and excited to have control of all aspects of our business in Zimbabwe,” Ottapathu said.

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

At the height of their legal battles, Choppies Enterprises Ottapathu alleged that that the Mphoko family owned only seven percent shareholding, noting that the other 44% was given to them to fulfil the indigenisation laws of the country. However, Mphoko’s lawyer Welshman Ncube insisted that his clients held 51% of the shares.