Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Inside how directors broke the Choppies bank

Personal compensation to non-executive directors of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed Choppies Enterprises Ltd has shot up to a whopping P 4.6 million.

This is a 214 per cent growth during the financial year ended June 2019, compared to P1.46 million paid during the same period in the previous year, data availed to The Sunday Standard reveals.

Members who have been kicked out of the Choppies board among them former President of Botswana Festus Mogae, Former Botswana High Commissioner to India Dorcas Kgosietstile, former Barclay Bank Managing Director Wilfred Mpai, former partner at PwC Botswana Robert Neil Mathews and Chairman of Holdsport Ltd Sydney Alan Muller gobbled up a huge chunk of the P4,6 million in three months.

Choppies paid the non-executive directors P33,333 per board sitting. Kgosietstile received a pay out of P 1.3 million compared to P4,00,000 (225% increase) she received the previous year. Mogae received 8,67,000 compared to P1,33,000 (551 % increase) he received during the financial year ended 2018.

 The Choppies board met almost every week since August 2018 as the company failed to publish its audited results. Subsequently, a boardroom battle involving Choppies Enterprises Chief Executive Officer, Ram Ottapathu and company board under the chairmanship of Festus Mogae borke out, leading to the CEOs suspension.

   However, in the first week of September 2019, Ottapathu swept to victory in the EGM, being retained on the board by 52.05% of shareholders and securing approval of his handpicked nominees Tom Pritchard (77.75%) and Carol Jean Howard (51.2%).  Ottapathu’s close ally and Choppies founder, Farouk Ismail was also retained in the board with 55% of votes in support. Wilfred Mpai, Dorcas Kgosietsile, Ronald Tamale and Heinrich Standar, all members of the previous board, failed to secure reappointment, in a meeting marked by palpable tension between the board rivals.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.