Botswana retailer Choppies, still mired in controversy related to accounting irregularities, is now suing audit firm PwC.
PwC had refused to sign off on the company’s results for the year to end-June 2018, saying there were discrepancies in its stock levels at several newly-acquired stores in South Africa.
The auditing firm had also raised concerns about the chain being involved in possible money laundering in Zimbabwe, CEO Ramachandran ‘Ram’ Ottapathu’s ownership in a buying group, and Ottapathu’s and interim acting CEO Farouk Ismail’s holdings in several of the retail group’s suppliers.
The delay in the release of the results led to trading in Choppies shares being suspended from both the JSE and the Botswana Stock Exchange in November 2018.
Subsequent developments led to its listing on both exchanges being suspended on March 13.
Ottapathu and Ismail is now in the process of suing PwC for P850 million (R1.3 billion).
Ottapathu, who was reinstated in September at an extraordinary general meeting, after being suspended in May 2019, confirmed to Moneyweb that Choppies is suing PwC but refused to comment on the merits of the case at this stage. He said the company will address the media on the details of the case in the next two weeks.
“I do not want to make a comment, but our lawyers will come out and make a statement when the time is right,” Ottapathu says.