JUST IN: Mphoko sent to prison


A BULAWAYO magistrate yesterday revoked bail conditions of former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s son, Siqokoqela and sent him to remand prison, pending trial over fraud charges.

Siqokoqela faces up to 170 counts of fraud and theft following accusations that he looted $80 000 worth of cash and goods from Choppies Supermarkets.

Siqokoqela (40), who is director of Nanavac (Private) Limited, a partner to the Botswana-registered Choppies Distribution Centre (Proprietary) Limited, had been granted $200 bail on his initial court appearance before Bulawayo magistrate Nyaradzo Ringisayi.

Yesterday, Siqokoqela appeared before magistrate Gladmore Mushove, who accused him of interfering with State witnesses in violation of his bail conditions before remanding him in custody.

Mphoko’s lawyer, Welshman Ncube confirmed the development, but referred NewsDay to Khulekani Sibanda, who represented Siqokoqela yesterday.

“We are now working on an urgent appeal to the High Court. That is the appeal we are working on as a matter of urgency and our intention is to file it by end of day tomorrow (Friday),” Sibanda said.

The Mphokos are engaged in an ownership dispute over Choppies Supermarket chain with their Botswana business partners.

Botswana-based Choppies group chief executive officer Ottapathu Ramachandran took the Mphokos to court, seeking to bar them from interfering with the firm’s day-to-day operations.

Mphoko and his son Siqokoqela insist they are the majority shareholders of Choppies Zimbabwe through their local investment vehicle, Nanavac with 51%. However, the Botswana-headquartered business says the Mphokos only own 7% shareholding in Choppies.

The matter is yet to be settled.

— NewsDay

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