POLICE have launched a manhunt for Lebanese diamond dealer, Jamal Ahmed, accused of swindling First Lady Grace Mugabe of $1,4 million in a botched diamond ring transaction.
By XOLISANI NCUBE
Court papers filed at the High Court by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order section, show that police are investigating Ahmed for various crimes ranging from money-laundering to fraud and theft, among others.
Superintendent Nyambo Viera, of CID Law and Order, in a supporting affidavit to a legal wrangle pitting the First Lady and Ahmed, said they had roped in the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to extradite the Lebanese to Zimbabwe for trial.
The investigations, according to Viera, started late last year.
Ahmed, through his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, dragged the First Lady, her son Russel Goreraza and her aide Kennedy Fero to court accusing them of invading his three properties in Harare over the botched diamond ring deal.
While the High Court has asked Grace to vacate Ahmed’s properties, police now claim they in fact invaded the businessman’s properties.
“We applied and got a warrant of arrest against this individual. We alerted Interpol to assist us in extraditing him from any country he might be residing, presumably Belgium, Dubai or Europe in general,” police said.
But, NewsDay yesterday established that Ahmed’s name was not on Interpol’s “wanted persons” list.
Police also said they were investigating how the Lebanese amassed so much wealth “in such a short time”.
“… it is pertinent for the court to note that from our investigations, Jamal Ahmed jumped bail in Abu Dhabi, where he is to serve a three-month jail term. He has been made persona non grata or a prohibited immigrant in three African countries, as it stands. We are dealing with a seasoned international conman, but also a sophisticated criminal,” court papers claim.
Fero, a senior member of the police and part of Grace’s close security aides, argues in his affidavit that they invaded the properties to facilitate Ahmed’s arrest, while the removal of people living at the houses was “for their safety as, I had been told that first applicant (Ahmed) … was an international criminal, who could possibly be dangerous, as his illegal activities are far and wide-ranging.”
Grace’s lawyer, Wilson Manase, yesterday challenged Ahmed to come out of his alleged hideout and face trial.
“We hope that the lawyers representing Ahmed will help us bring this international criminal to Zimbabwe so that he faces his music and stop peddling falsehoods in a clear case,” he said.