Peter Matika, Senior Reporter
FORMER Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s son, Siqokoqela Mphoko has appeared in court facing of 170 counts of fraud alternatively charged as theft, were he allegedly prejudiced Choppies supermarket of more than $50 000.
Mphoko, who resides in Hillside suburb in Bulawayo, appeared in court for initial remand on Friday, where he was ordered to pay $200 bail and also to adhere to conditions, stipulated by the bail order.
Mphoko appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Miss Sithembile Ncube and was represented by Professor Welshman Ncube. The matter was remanded to 14 September for hearing.
Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo prosecuted.
According to the State, Mphoko is facing 170 counts of fraud or alternatively theft, respectively, as defined in section 136 and 113 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) act, chapter 9:23.
Mphoko who is a director for Nanavac Investments Private Limited, a local partner to the Botswana-registered Choppies Distribution Centre (Proprietary) Limited, is accused of abusing his power to allegedly loot cash realised from sales at different supermarkets and replacing it with transfers.
According to State papers Mphoko, who is a non-executive director, fooled employees, from whom he collected cash, goods or services that money would be deducted from his salary.
Thereafter he would instruct the finance department not to deduct any amount from his salary. Mphoko allegedly prejudiced Choppies of $51 945.53 in total.
“There were occasions when he represented that he intended to replace the amount taken by swiping for the amount, when he had no intensions to do so,” read part of the State outline.
Mphoko is alleged to have given employees the impression that he was at the helm of the company to the extent that he was answerable to no one but himself. He is reported to have also threatened employees with dismissal or deportation if they questioned him.
The matter came to light in May this year when the group CEO was conducting an audit.
Mphoko’s wife also appeared in court recently facing similar charges and was remanded out of custody on $200 bail to 3 September this year.