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Zimbabwe First Lady Files Countersuit Against Lebanese Over Botched Diamond Ring Deal

Mrs. Grace Mugabe.
Mrs. Grace Mugabe.

First Lady Grace Mugabe, involved in a bitter US$1,350 million wedding ring wrangle with Lebanese diamond dealer Jamal Joseph Ahmed, is accused of trying to mislead the courts into ruling in her favor after her lawyers allegedly served papers at one of the houses she seized using state agents.

Harare lawyer, Wilson Tatenda Manase is representing Mrs. Mugabe in the case.

Efforts to get a comment from him were futile as calls to his office and mobile phone were not being answered. But previously he told VOA Studio 7 that he only responds after getting instructions from his client.

Ahmed’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, confirmed to VOA Studio 7 that she had not been served with the court papers filed by the Mrs. Mugabe on Tuesday countersuing Ahmed who had taken her to court for seizing his properties in Harare using state security agents.

Said Mtetwa, “As the lawyer I was not served with the papers, I do not know what they are suing for and I will be going to the High Court on Thursday to ask for the papers.”

Mtetwa refused to comment further.

But sources privy to the developments say the move not to serve Mtetwa was deliberate as they knew Ahmed was not at the property the papers were served. Ahmed says he will not set foot in Zimbabwe until the government respects the rule of law.

But the state controlled media claim that he is a “fugitive” of justice.

Mrs. Mugabe, through her lawyer Wilson Manase, filed her suit at the High Court in Harare on Tuesday claiming the principal debt plus interest calculated from April 1, 2015, to the date of payment in full.

The first lady says in April 2015, she ordered a 100-carat special ring worth $1, 350 million for her wedding anniversary from Ahmed and paid in advance through her Harare CBZ Bank account. But after the diamond had been polished by a third party, the first lady then refused to take delivery of the diamond and instead demanded a full refund in Dubai.

After Ahmed refused to give her the refund in hard cash in Dubai, citing forex externalization laws, she allegedly instructed her son to invade five upmarket Harare houses belonging to the Lebanese. The case of the seized houses is currently in the courts.

Ahmed says he was prepared to pay Mrs. Mugabe in instalments through the banking system. But President Robert Mugabe’s wife, seized the five upmarket houses in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale and Avondale Harare.

In her law suit, Mrs. Mugabe is seeking an order allowing her to attach the five properties. She is also seeking an order declaring executable Ahmed’s shareholding in three companies - Thatchfree Investments, Zulaf Investments and Super Earth Properties.

Court documents show that Mrs. Mugabe placed an order for a US$1,3 million diamond ring in Dubai through Thatchfree Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Ahmed.