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-in-law 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 anti-money laundering laws did not allow him to do so and opted to pay the First Lady in installments through a third party.
But Grace refused, resulting in her seizing Ahmed’s properties. – Zim Metro