Suspended Choppies CEO cries foul over forensic reports to shareholders

Legal and forensic reports into Choppies Enterprises Limited, circulated to shareholders via Botswana’s X-News and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) are unfair and biased – and appear designed to embarrass him rather than informing shareholders, says suspended CEO, Mr Ramchandran (Ram) Ottapathu.

Mr Ottapathu was responding to a Choppies Enterprises Limited shareholders’ circular ahead of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of Choppies shareholders to be held on 4 September. The circular published on X-News and SENS provided summaries of a Legal Report and Forensic Report relating to him.
Mr Ottapathu’s version of what really unfolded at the company which he co-founded is contained in a right of reply to the summary responses to the EY Report and Desai Law Group (DLG) Report circulated to shareholders via X-News (Botswana) and SENS (JSE) announcements on 14 August.
Earlier in the year, Mr Ottapathu made some suggestions to the non-executive directors as to changes to the board and structural changes to the company. Thereafter, on 22 May, the non-executive directors, including former
Botswana President Festus Mogae, suspended Mr Ottapathu.
Mr Ottapathu engaged lawyers in South Africa and Botswana and retained an independent expert forensic accountant to advise him on his response. On this basis, he cautioned shareholders, ahead of the 4 September EGM, not to rely on the reports.
He notes that the so-called legal report’s analysis largely clears him and his con-duct, but its conclusions drawn by Botswana law firm, Desai Law Group (DLG), condemn him.
“Regrettably there was no attempt by DLG to present a fair and unbiased ac-count in its legal report. Both the Legal Report and its summary (Annexure 1) present a skewed version of events on incorrect assumptions and are flawed.
“I caution shareholders not to accept the report at face value,” Mr Ottapathu said.
Turning to the so-called Forensic Report, he said its summary (Annexure 2 of the Board’s X-News and SENS announcement) was “a skewed and contrived version of a bland, poorly drafted and largely exculpatory forensic report”.
He said inferences which appear to have been drawn in Annexure 2 of the report rely on the flawed Forensic Report which are premature and inconclusive.

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