FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe (pictured) says she is preparing to lodge an appeal against a High Court decision forcing her off properties she seized from a Lebanese diamond dealer, Jamal Ahmed, following their botched $1,3 million diamond ring deal.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
On December 21 last year, High Court judge Justice Clement Phiri ordered Grace’s proxies to vacate Ahmed’s properties within 24 hours, failure of which the deputy sheriff would be authorised to force their eviction.
Grace’s lawyers, Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, represented by Wellington Pasipanodya, yesterday said they were preparing to challenge the High Court order kicking out the First Lady’s proxies.
Pasipanodya said Justice Phiri had misdirected himself in issuing the order.
“The whole process was wrong, as the First Lady was never served with papers and we are challenging that decision. It is wrong to say she has defied a court order because we have already indicated that we are appealing against the ruling to evict those people occupying those properties,” he told NewsDay.
Early this week, Ahmed’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said Grace had disregarded the court, as her proxies were still holed up in the properties – weeks after the ruling.
Mtetwa said they had since approached the deputy sheriff to implement the court order, as the people occupying the properties had refused to vacate the houses voluntarily.
The First Lady, who is believed to be 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.
Court documents state that Grace placed an order for the ring in Dubai through Thatchfree Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Ahmed
The ring was meant to be Mugabe’s gift to his wife on their 20th wedding anniversary. The two wedded in August 1996.
In approaching the court, Ahmed was also seeking protection from Grace’s 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.
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.
While the majority of Zimbabweans are wallowing in grinding poverty, a shrinking economy, lack of jobs and cash shortages, Grace has consistently become synonymous with extravagant spending on top-of-the-range trinkets.