The suspended chief executive of Botswana supermarket chain Choppies says he is disappointed by the board’s decision and is confident he will be vindicated of any wrongdoing.
In a statement late on Wednesday, Ramachandran Ottapathu said the suspension announced on Tuesday was a consequence of personal differences with some members of the board and retaliation for his proposal to introduce a much-needed governance change within Choppies and the board itself.
Choppies, which also has stores in Zimbabwe and South Africa and has a second listing on the Johannesburg stock exchange, did not say why it suspended Ottapathu, but the move comes as legal and forensic investigations take place at the company.
Trading in Choppies’ shares is currently suspended on both the Botswana and Johannesburg stock exchanges after auditors refused to sign the company financial statements until investigations were completed.
In his statement, Ottapathu, a joint founder and major shareholder of Choppies, said he remained committed to getting the business back to where it should be for the benefit of shareholders, staff, creditors and the business community in all the countries where it operated.
He said he had been accused of entering into certain transactions without properly disclosing them to the board, but no evidence had been provided.
“I feel strongly that all my actions have been in the best interest of the Company and never considered any of my actions to be reckless or without the knowledge of the board,” he said.
“These transactions are the subject of a forensic and legal review by Choppies’ lawyers and consultants. I have been, and continue to be, fully supportive of this process and will continue to participate to the best of my ability to ensure this process is completed.”
“I record that I did not make any personal financial gain from any of the impugned transactions,” Ottapathu added.
– African News Agency (ANA)