PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, has defied a High Court order and remained in occupation of three houses she seized from a Lebanese diamond dealer, Jamal Ahmed, over a botched $1,3 million diamond ring deal.
Ahmed’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa told NewsDay yesterday that Grace had not yet removed her proxies from the properties in defiance of an eviction order issued by High Court judge, Justice Clement Phiri on December 21 last year.
Mtetwa said they had now approached the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court to evict Grace’s proxies from the properties located in Harare’s leafy Avondale suburb.
“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 as was stated by the court,” Mtetwa said.
Justice Phiri had given Grace’s proxies 24 hours to vacate the premises, failure to which, the sheriff would be authorised to evict them and restore the properties to Ahmed.
The First Lady, who is in China holidaying with her husband President Robert Mugabe, was also ordered to restore movable property removed from one of the workers’ houses.
Ahmed approached the High Court after three of his properties were illegally seized by the First Lady, who was demanding full refund for a ring she bought from Dubai.
According to court papers, Grace placed an order for the ring in Dubai through Thatchfree Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Ahmed. The expensive ring was meant to be President Robert Mugabe’s wedding anniversary gift to his wife. Last year was their 20th anniversary. The two wed in August 1996.
She allegedly made the payment through a local commercial bank, but declined to accept the ring on delivery before demanding that the refund be deposited in her private Dubai bank account.
But, Ahmed, according to court papers, said it would take long to effect the refund, as he had used a third party for the transaction, to which Grace objected and proceeded to seize the properties
In approaching the court, Ahmed was also seeking protection from Grace’s nagging son, Russell Goreraza, son-in-law, Simba Chikore and Kennedy Fero, who, according to court papers, is part of the First Lady’s security personnel.
After the judgment, Grace’s lawyer Wilson Manase said they would challenge the order to vacate, but was not reachable for comment yesterday, as his phone went unanswered.
Manase claimed his client had not been served with the court papers to defend her case at the High Court.
He added that the First Lady did not have a bank account outside the country.
This is not the first time Grace has been involved in a controversial business deal.
In 2011 she was caught in a spat over a $1 million truck deal with South African businessman Ping Sung Hsieh.
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