Harare - Grace Mugabe has sued a Lebanese gem dealer for failing to deliver her a diamond for which she says she had paid more than R13 million. Mugabe claims the stone the dealer Jamal Ahmed sent her was only worth about R400 000.
She told the Harare High Court this week that she must be repaid the money she sent him, with interest, and that if he fails to pay her back, the court should attach his Harare properties and shareholdings in several Zimbabwe companies.
Grace Mugabe claimed the stone was to be a 20th wedding anniversary present last year from her husband, President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe’s declaration to the court said: "The parties agreed that the diamond ring would be at least 100 carats and the agreed price was $1 350 000. The plaintiff duly instructed her bankers, Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe to transfer the money into defendant’s bank account, to which the bank duly complied,” reads the declaration.
Mugabe said that after many delays, Ahmed eventually said he would pay her back, but she claims he sent her less then 10 percent of what he owed.
The first lady’s diamond ring saga has some history as Ahmed went to court himself last year claiming that his Harare house and other properties in which he had an interest were taken over by Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe’s oldest son from her first marriage, and Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, and a security guard.
Ahmed claimed that his employees lived in one of the houses and were evicted and then became homeless.
Ahmed, who operates from Dubai, lives in Belgium.
After he went to court, the police then claimed they were in control of the properties, as they said they were investigating Ahmed and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Interestingly, the claim now before the court says the diamond she agreed to buy was 100 carats, which diamond experts in Johannesburg say would cost at least R260 million.
Grace Mugabe, who bought a mansion in Johannesburg earlier this year for more then R40 million has also bought other expensive items recently - another R40 million property in Harare, and a Rolls Royce.
Grace Mugabe hit the headlines again in August when she allegedly went to a top Sandton hotel and beat up a young Johannesburg woman, Gabrielle Engels, who reported the incident to the police after her wound had been stitched up.
Now Engels is looking to reverse the diplomatic immunity South Africa gave Grace Mugabe which allowed her to return to Harare without having to face charges in South Johannesburg.
Independent Foreign Service