FORMER Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and his son Siqokoqela have taken the Botswana-headquartered Choppies Enterprises, its distribution centre and Nanavac Investments to court demanding an outstanding US$44 million for their 51% shares in the company.
BY SILAS NKALA
The family held shares in the supermarket chain before it was pushed out in January last year.
Through their lawyer Zibusiso Ncube, Mphoko and his son filed summons at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order declaring their entitlement to payment of the true value of the 51% shares they held before being booted out.
The Mphokos also claimed interest at the rate of 5% per annum from January 9, 2019, when they were unlawfully divested of their shareholding, to date of full payment.
In their declaration of the claim, the Mphokos submitted that at all material time, they were the majority shareholders of Nanavac Investments, holding an aggregate of 51% shares.
“First applicant (Siqokoqela) held 25,5% shares and second applicant (Phelekezela) held 25,5% shares in first defendant (Nanavac Investments), while the second defendant (Choppies Enterprises) held the remaining 49% of the first defendant (Nanavac Investments)’ shares,” reads the declaration.
“In about 2018, a dispute arose between first applicant and second defendant resulting in the second and third defendants instituting legal proceedings against first plaintiff and his wife and the first defendant at the High Court. The second defendant instituted malicious and false criminal complaints to the police, resulting in the institution of magistrates’ court proceedings against the first plaintiff and his wife.”
They said the proceedings resulted in their arrest and detention and on January 9 in order to secure freedom, the Mphokos signed a deed of settlement with Choppies Enterprises in terms of which they disposed of their shareholding in Nanavac Investments to Choppies Enterprises.
“The deed of settlement between the parties provided that the two plaintiffs were to be paid US$2,9 million by second defendant for the acquisition of plaintiffs’ full rights and title to the first defendant’s shareholding,” they said.
“The payment of first applicant’s salary which was due from first defendant had been unlawfully stopped and threats of foreclosure on a mortgage bond in which first applicant had acquired funds from a local bank which the plaintiff could only service if he was not in detention and was receiving his salary from first defendant, the second plaintiff made him sign the deed of settlement in fear of the continued persecution of his son and his daughter in law by second defendant.”
The Mphokos said the unlawful deed of settlement understated value of the shareholding they owned in that US$2,9 million offered for the shares constituted about 7% as opposed to 51% of the value of the shares in Nanavac Investments, which was given as US$44 million at the Botswana Stock Exchange.
“The second defendant paid the sum of US$2,9 million in local currency, where shareholding was purportedly being acquired by a foreign entity and in terms of the impugned deed of settlement, the value of the shares was in US dollars. The plaintiffs are entitled to 51% shares in first defendant in terms of the shareholders agreement of July 24 2013.”
The defendants are yet to respond to the summons.
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