Former President Festus Mogae, former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe and former vice President of Zimbabwe, Phelekezela Mphoko entered into a shady agreement to help Choppies bypass provisions f Indigenisation Act which required locals to own 51 percent of businesses.
The startling details have emerged in a battle for control of Choppies Zimbabwe between Mogae and Mphoko. Mogae alleges that Mphoko was used as a front to evade provisions of the Indigenisation Act and was given only 7 percent of the shares for this role and not the 51 percent which he is now claiming. A letter written by Mogae to Mphoko which is quoted by the Zimbabwe Independent reads,
“My brother, I would like to bring the following facts to our attention: We entered into this partnership with a clear understanding of the shareholding of 93% shares to Choppies Enterprises and 7% to the Mphoko family, free of charge. We signed agreements based on this and even the office of the former president (Robert Mugabe) has got these agreements.
You are well aware that I had access to former president, RG Mugabe and I did clear this with him in the presence of former foreign minister (honourable) Simbarashe S Mumbengegwi. I have the same access to the current president as I had with the previous one.”
Mogae was quoted by the Zimbabwe Independent saying, “That letter was written when we realised there was something impossible that had been happening for some time and we needed to regularise that, which is the issue of Choppies’ shareholding in Zimbabwe. We would love to continue operating in Zimbabwe, but we need to have things in order in the correct manner.”
However, Mphoko dismissed Mogae’s claims saying that people wanted to advantage of the fact that he was no longer a part of the government. He insisted that he still owns 51 percent of the supermarket chain and said that he has the documentation to back him.
Mphoko was Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Botswana during Mogae’s term as president. There have been complaints in Zimbabwe that Mphoko may have abused his position as ambassador in Botswana moonlighting to cut deals for himself and his family.