Former Zim vice-president sues opposition leader over Choppies payout

MDC Alliance deputy president Welshman Ncube is being sued by former vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko over money he allegedly owes Ncube and his son.
MDC Alliance deputy president Welshman Ncube is being sued by former vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko over money he allegedly owes Ncube and his son.
Image: Supplied

Zimbabwe's former vice-president Phelekezela Mphoko has dragged his lawyer, MDC Alliance deputy president Prof Welshman Ncube, to court.

Mphoko is suing Ncube for allegedly “neglecting” to transfer more than $1.4m (R20.7m), part of an amount awarded to Mphoko and his son Siqokoqela after a protracted ownership battle for retailer Choppies Enterprises Ltd.

He and his son sold their shares in the supermarket giant’s Zimbabwean entity, allegedly for $2.9m (R43m), in a deal finalised in January this year.

SowetanLIVE's sister publication Business Day reported that the dispute arose when the Mphokos and Choppies - which operates 212 stores in SA, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe - fell out over the size of their holding in Nanavac Investments, a Choppies subsidiary in Zimbabwe.

The Mphokos claimed they were 51% shareholders, but Choppies said they had only a 7% stake. The matter was taken to the Zimbabwean high court but was resolved out of court.

In their suit, the Mphokos argue that since the deal's conclusion, the former vice-president has received $517,500 (R7.7m), while his son got $730,219 (R10.8m) - leaving a balance of about $1.4m, which they claim is being held by their estranged lawyer Ncube.

"Despite demand, the defendant [Ncube] has failed, neglected and/or refused to pay the aforesaid balances of $832,500 [R12.3m] to the first plaintiff [Phelekezela Mphoko] and $619,708.50 [R9.2m] for the second plaintiff [Siqokoqela Mphoko]," reads the summons.

Ncube is yet to respond to the summons, which also demands that he pays "5% [interest] per annum from January 16 2019 to the date of payment in full."


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