TAKING THE BLAME: Ramachandran

Ram shoulders responsibility for the Choppies mess

Suspended Choppies Chief Executive Officer, Ramachandran Ottapathu, says he takes responsibility for all the mess that happened while he led the company.

The retail giant is currently suspended from trading its shares on both the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) while Ram himself has also been on suspension from work since May this year.

The company has in addition, not been able to publish its annual financial results for a year now, and while Ram has previously contested his suspension, on Wednesday he told the fully packed Grand Aria conference hall that he is taking the responsibility of all the mess that has besieged the company he co-founded.

Although he is yet to go through a disciplinary hearing, Ram who remained upbeat said he will gladly appear for the hearing, saying he would not run away from the problems.

“I simply didn’t resign and walk away from business because I am committed to this business,” Ram told Choppies shareholders who were meeting for the first time since November 2017.

Ram said he and Farouk Ismail whom the co-founded the business with, will not run away from the problem.

“This company is great, I can make it greater, that is the confidence you should have in me and I didn’t resign and say it is not my problem. No!” Ram declared.

He says he even told the board that either under the current board or the next board, he will still follow the disciplinary process.

While the legal and forensic reports have raised concerns regarding a number of dubious transactions allegedly conducted by the suspended CEO, Ram this week appeared to admit to those mistakes.

“You learn from mistakes, I can only talk about the future and be rest assured, we will not have these types of issues coming up in our lives. It’s a lesson, we learn and I will correct whatever mistake that happened,” said Ram, adding that he takes responsibility for everything.

Ram said everything was done under his watch and noted that he should have been more careful.

As he is currently serving suspension, Ram said Choppies is lacking life, comparing it to a dead animal.

“It’s like a dead animal that is getting pushed around by people who do not really know what is going on,” said Ram.

Meanwhile Ottapathu emerged victorious on Wednesday night to gain control of Choppies at an extra ordinary shareholders meeting in SA.

His backed nominees were also voted into the board.

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