-His employment with BOCRA permitted him to do consultancy work -This was disclosed to the then CJ Dibotelo- Justice Dr Kebonang -Choppies inadvertently paid his consulting fees after his permanent appointment as Judge

Justice Dr Zein Kebonang has disclosed that consultancy work was permissible when he was an Acting Judge.

This was because he remained an employee of Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) notwithstanding his appointment as Acting Judge of the High Court.

"As an Acting Judge, there was no obligation on my part to relinquish any of my interests held elsewhere or anywhere. I daresay that this position accorded with common practice of those who acted before me at the High Court who never had to relinquish their law practice during their acting periods,” Justice Dr Kebonang said in his answering affidavit.

Justices Dr Kebonang and Boipuso Makhwe have been dragged into the controversial marathon case between Choppies shareholders and Pricewaterhousecoopers- Botswana (PwC) regarding the failure for the publishing of Choppies financial statements which according to the shareholders, they lost about P450 million and want PwC to be liable for the loss.

Justice Dr Kebonang added: "The former Chief Justice, His Lordship Maruping Dibotelo, expressly advised that since there was no guarantee or telling when a vacancy for full-time Judge would open up,

“it was best that any Acting Judge should not prejudice or relinquish rights or interests they may have elsewhere as he did not want to create any legitimate expectation of full-time employment/appointment".

He said his consultancy work for Choppies occurred at a time when he was still an employee of Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) and while an Acting Judge of the High Court. As stated, his contract of employment with BOCRA permitted that he could undertake consultancy work. In fact, while at BOCRA, he did consultancy work for the Ministry of Education and Skills Development.

"My consultancy work for Choppies Distribution Centre (CDC) was terminated by my appointment as High Court Judge from 1 July 2017. My association with the company is historical and any suggestion that I have a continued financial business interests in the business is false."

After his appointment as full-time Judge, CDC accounts department continued to inadvertently pay his consultancy fees, but when he became aware of these payments, he paid back the money to Choppies.

This is in the matter between the auditing firm PwC and retail giant Choppies which has grabbed headlines in the recent past. In one of the affidavits PwC has been accused of breaching confidentiality by divulging the information they received by virtue of their position as auditors, since they did not seek a court order to use the information.

The two largest shareholders in the Choppies Enterprises Limited, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ram Ottapathu and partner Farouk Ismail, had obtained a crucial ruling in their R610 million claim from PwC and Rudi Binedell.

Ottapathu and Ismail want PwC to be made liable for losses the directors faced when Choppies was suspended from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) for not publishing its 2018 financial statements within stipulated time frames. The two have submitted that PwC was to blame for the delay. The suspension caused shares in Choppies to tumble and thus eroded their own value in Choppies as shareholders.