Grace Mugabe in $280 000 legal fees headache

FORMER First Lady Grace Mugabe has been ordered to pay $278 304 to a local law firm which represented her in several court cases involving a botched $1,4 million diamond ring deal.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners represented Grace in cases where she claimed to have been duped by Lebanese businessman Jamal Ahmed.

In a bid to recover the money, Grace is alleged to have “grabbed” three properties, namely No 409 Harare Drive, Pomona, No 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale and No 75 King George, Avondale, all owned by Ahmed, who successfully challenged the grab in court.

On January 15, 2019, High Court judge Justice Felistus Chatukuta ruled in favour of the law firm and ordered Grace and her son, Russell Goreraza, to pay the legal fees.

“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that (a) the defendant (Grace and her son) be and is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiff $278 304,05 jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved, (b) Interest on the capital sum of 5% per annum calculated from the date of demand to date of full and final payment and cost of suit on an ordinary scale,” Justice Chatukuta ruled.

According to the law firm’s declaration, Grace and Goreraza approached the lawyers in December 2016 seeking legal services in respect of a number of cases linked to the diamond ring saga.

The pair also wanted to be legally represented in an urgent chamber application that was before the High Court under case number HC 12497/16.

The law firm further said the legal services rendered included attending to all litigation procedures and hearings, the drafting of court processes, consultations, roundtable meetings and various legal documents, and the services were rendered for over two years.

“The plaintiff carried out its obligations by rendering such legal services with the level of professionalism envisaged in the Legal Practitioners Act (Chapter 27:07) and the Law Society of Zimbabwe by-laws,” the law firm said in its declaration.

“The plaintiff carried out its services for a period extending over two years, but to date the defendants have not paid the plaintiff’s fees for the services rendered in the above mentioned cases.”

Previous efforts by the law firm to recover the debt hit a snag.

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