Grace Mu­gabe un­happy with ring, so she takes busi­ness­man’s houses

CityPress - - News - FRANK CHIKOWORE news@city­press.co.za

Zim­bab­wean First Lady Grace Mu­gabe has al­legedly grabbed two more prop­er­ties from a Le­banese busi­ness­man, de­spite the court or­der­ing her to va­cate the three houses that she ini­tially seized in a botched $1.3 mil­lion (R18 mil­lion) di­a­mond ring deal.

Harare High Court Judge Cle­ment Phiri on De­cem­ber 21 ruled against Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe’s con­tro­ver­sial wife af­ter she force­fully took own­er­ship of three prop­er­ties be­long­ing to Le­banese ty­coon Ja­mal Ahmed, and gave her 24 hours to pack her bags and al­low Ahmed’s em­ploy­ees to re­turn to the seized houses.

New court pa­pers showed that the First Lady had taken own­er­ship and con­trol of two more houses be­long­ing to Ahmed, who told the court re­cently that he now feared to re­turn to Zim­babwe af­ter be­ing threat­ened with harm by Grace’s son Rus­sell Gor­eraza, her son-in­law Simba Chikore and Kennedy Fero. The three men are part of Grace’s se­cu­rity per­son­nel.

One of Ahmed’s em­ploy­ees, Tal­ent Kasiya, de­posed an af­fi­davit at the high court on Jan­uary 3, claim­ing that two more houses be­long­ing to his em­ployer had again been seized.

“On Sun­day, De­cem­ber 18, I at­tended Dun­gar­van House, Wilson Av­enue in Bor­row­dale, where I saw two men whom I recog­nised as hav­ing been part of the group that had ini­tially come to the Cam­bridge Road premises. I no­ticed that the lock at the back en­trance of Dun­gar­van House had in fact been bro­ken and, as there was no one man­ning the gate, I was able to en­ter,” read part of the af­fi­davit.

Ahmed’s at­tor­ney, Beatrice Mtetwa, con­firmed the lat­est de­vel­op­ment. “When the courts opened on Tues­day, it is­sued a sec­ond evic­tion or­der for the two ad­di­tional houses and we are now waiting for the deputy sher­iff to de­liver the no­tices. If the First Lady or her as­so­ciates refuse to va­cate the five premises, then they would be in con­tempt of court,” said Mtetwa. How­ever, Grace’s lawyer, Welling­ton Pasi­pan­odya, said the First Lady was yet to be served with the no­tices. “My client is out of the coun­try and has not been ad­vised of the no­tices. She was out of the coun­try when the said prop­er­ties were al­legedly in­vaded,” said Pasi­pan­odya. Sources in the deputy sher­iff’s of­fice said the or­der is­sued by Jus­tice Phiri could not be served on the First Lady be­cause he was hin­dered by sol­diers man­ning the First Lady’s res­i­dence.

“Ma­cauff Madega [the sher­iff of the high court] was barred by sol­diers upon his ar­rival at Blue Roof [Mu­gabe’s res­i­dence], who said that the neigh­bour­hood fell un­der pro­tected ar­eas and he could not de­liver the no­tice,” said one source.

The dis­pute was sparked by the First Lady’s re­fusal to ac­cept a pol­ished di­a­mond ring that she had or­dered from Ahmed. The ring was meant to be Mu­gabe’s gift to Grace to mark their 20th wed­ding an­niver­sary.

Court pa­pers showed that Grace paid $1.3 mil­lion for the ring us­ing her lo­cal bank ac­count. When she de­manded a re­fund af­ter de­cid­ing that she no longer wanted the ring, the First Lady de­manded that Ahmed pay the money into her ac­count held at a Dubai bank. Ahmed, how­ever, re­fused, say­ing an­ti­money laun­der­ing laws did not al­low him to do so and opted to pay the First Lady in in­stal­ments through a third party. But Grace re­fused, re­sult­ing in her seiz­ing Ahmed’s prop­er­ties.

– News24

PHOTO: THEMBA MASEKO

WHAT A GEM Zim­bab­wean First Lady Grace Mu­gabe

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