Harare – A Harare judge has ordered Zimbabwe’s controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe to return three properties that she seized from a Lebanese businessman in a botched US$1.35m diamond ring deal.
High Court judge Clement Phiri on Wednesday ordered President Robert Mugabe’s wife to remove her representatives from the properties that she seized after Lebanese national Jamal Ahmed failed to repay the money that was paid by her for a polished diamond ring.
The ring had been meant to be Mugabe’s wedding anniversary to Grace.
The year 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the Mugabes’ wedding.
Grace demanded a refund after she discovered that the diamond ring was polished.
When the court initially sat on Wednesday, the First Lady was not represented but attorney Wilson Manase later stood for her.
‘Grace is not new to controversy’
In passing judgement, the judge expressed unhappiness on the sheriff’s failure to serve court papers at the Blue Roof residence of the First Lady in the leafy Borrowdale suburb of Harare.
Ahmed’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said security personnel at Mugabe’s residence denied the sheriff to leave summons and he could not affix them to the gate or door in fear of breaching security protocol.
Said Mtetwa: “He (the sheriff) had failed to serve the summons because of an armed soldier who barred him from further action. We were in the middle of the hearing when the presiding judge was called by the Judge President (George Chiweshe) and came back later and then granted an order compelling the First Lady to remove her representatives from the properties and to ensure that all workers at the properties who had lost their jobs were immediately reinstated.”
Grace is not new to controversy. At the height of the land reform, she grabbed a farm in Mazowe, about 30km north of the capital Harare. She later turned into an orphanage. More recently, the First Lady also grabbed another farm, Manzou, located in the same district that ruling Zanu-PF party insiders say she wants to turn into an animal sanctuary, rendering several families, mostly women and children, homeless.