By Peta Thonycroft | IOL |
Grace Mugabe has defied a Harare High Court order and remains in occupation and in control of three expensive properties she took over from a Dubai-based diamond dealer over a massive diamond ring she bought for nearly R20 million to celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary to President Robert Mugabe.
Jamal Ahmed, originally from Lebanon but who lives in Belgian, owns three upmarket properties in Harare together with some other shareholders.
He says he sold Grace Mugabe an uncut diamond and then had it polished and set and she fully paid him for it from her Harare bank account with the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe.
His lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa told the court in the urgent application that unexpectedly the first lady refused to accept delivery of the diamond ring and ordered him to repay all the money to her account in Dubai.
When Ahmed told her he needed to negotiate any repayment and could not break Zimbabwe exchange control regulations, and needed to refund her in Harare, and that he had incurred expenses in getting the diamond polished and set, Mugabe allegedly set her son by her first marriage, Russell Goreraza, her son-in-law Simba Chikore and Kennedy Fero, one of her security staff to take over Ahmed’s properties in Harare.
In so doing, the Harare High Court heard, workers living in one of Ahmed’s properties were evicted, including two children at school in Harare trying to write end-of-year examinations.
There were also details in Ahmed’s affidavit of threats by Grace Mugabe via a go-between who allegedly warned him that the first family all had immunity from prosecution.
State legal officials were rebuffed by security staff when they tried to deliver summons to Grace Mugabe at State House, but eventually, Judge Clement Phiri heard the matter on December 21 and issued an order that all three properties should be handed back to Ahmed within 24 hours.
“We have decided to engage the sheriff to evict them because they have refused to comply with the High Court order. We are not yet sure as to when will the sheriff execute our request,” Mtetwa told journalists in Harare this week.
The first couple are presently in China after holidaying in Dubai as they usually do over Christmas.Wilson Manase, Grace Mugabe’s lawyer said he would challenge the order, and claimed she had not been served with summons to defend her case in court.
He also claimed she did not have a foreign bank account.