By Daniel Nemukuyu
Former First Lady Grace Mugabe has been sued by lawyers who represented her in several court cases involving a $1,2 million diamond ring deal after she failed to pay them legal fees amounting to $278 000.
Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners acted for Mrs Mugabe in several court cases linked to the diamond ring deal that later turned sour.
Mrs Mugabe claimed to have paid $1,2 million to Lebanese businessman Mr Jamal Ahmed for the purchase of a diamond ring, but the deal turned sour.
In a bid to recover the money, Mrs Mugabe allegedly “grabbed” three properties belonging to Mr Ahmed.
Guards were unlawfully deployed at No. 409 Harare Drive, Pomona; No. 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale and No. 75 King George, Avondale, being properties owned by Mr Ahmed.
The actions sparked legal battles that dragged on for months.
In the process, Manase and Manase represented Mrs Mugabe, but she did not pay for the services.
The law firm has taken Mrs Mugabe and her son, Russell Goreraza, to the High Court claiming legal fees amounting to $278 304,05.
Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners is also claiming interest which will be calculated at the rate of 10 percent per annum.
The law firm is also seeking an order for costs of the suit on a punitive scale.
According to the plaintiff’s declaration, Mrs Mugabe and Goreraza approached the lawyers in December 2016 seeking legal services in respect of a number of cases linked to the diamond ring saga.
They also wanted to be legally represented in an urgent chamber application that was before the High Court under case number HC 12497/16.
“In addition to that, the plaintiff continued to represent the plaintiff in all matters that arose as a result of the aforementioned case,” reads the declaration.
“The defendants were represented by the plaintiff in the Supreme Court in case number 480/17, which was referred back to the High Court and is still pending before the Honourable Court.”
Legal services rendered included attending to all litigation procedures and hearings, the drafting of court processes, consultations, round table meetings and various legal documents.
The services were rendered for a period stretching to two years.
“The plaintiff carried out its obligations by rendering such legal services with the level of professionalism envisaged in the Legal Practitioners Act (Chapter 27:07) and the Law Society of Zimbabwe by-laws,” reads the declaration.
“The plaintiff carried out its services for a period extending over two years, but to date the defendants have not paid the plaintiff’s fees for the services rendered in the above mentioned cases.”
The law firm’s efforts to recover the debt hit a snag, resulting in the dispute spilling into the High Court.
“Despite demand from the plaintiff, the defendants have refused and or neglected to pay the legal fees owing to the firm,” reads the papers.
“The plaintiff has been left with no option but to approach this Honourable Court seeking that the defendants pay the sum of $278 304,05, being legal fees due and payable by the defendants to the plaintiff.”
Mrs Mugabe and Goreraza are yet to respond to the lawsuit.