THE High Court has ordered First Lady Grace Mugabe to vacate, within 24 hours, the three premises belonging to a local businessman which she invaded after a dispute over the purchase of a US$1,4 million diamond ring.
In his provisional order on Wednesday, High Court Judge Justice Clement Phiri said Grace (second respondent), her son Russell Goreraza (first respondent) and Kennedy Fero (third respondent) who, according to court papers is part of Grace’s security personnel, would be evicted by the sheriff if they do not comply with the order.
Grace was dragged to court a fortnight ago after allegedly invading three upmarket houses in Harare belonging to Jamal Ahmed, a local diamond dealer and business tycoon.
In his provisional order, Justice Phiri directed that the three respondents should “forthwith” vacate Ahmed’s premises.
“Take note that on 21 December 2016 the High Court sitting at Harare before the honourable Justice Phiri issued a provisional order,” reads the order.
“… The respondents and all those claiming through them forthwith vacate the premises known as No. 409 Harare Drive, Pomona, Harare, No. 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale and No. 75 King George Road, Avondale, Harare.
“In the event that the respondents and their agents do not vacate the said premises within 24 hours of the service of this order at each one of the premises, that the sheriff be and is hereby authorised to evict the respondents, their agents at each one of the premises and all those claiming title through the respondents and to restore and handover the properties and their keys to the applicant’s agents and nominees.
“The respondents restore onto the premises all property removed and taken to the workers’ alternative homes,” reads the document.
The respondents will also incur “costs of the application on an attorney and own client scale”.
Justice Phiri said if the respondents want to oppose the confirmation of the provisional order they should file a notice of opposition in Form No 29B, together with one or more opposing affidavits, with the Registrar of the High Court at Harare within 10 days.
“If you do not file an opposing affidavit within the period specified above, this matter will be set down for hearing in the High Court at Harare without further notice to you and will be dealt with as an unopposed application for confirmation of the provisional order,” he said.
Documents seen by this paper say that Grace placed an order for a US$1,4 million diamond ring in Dubai through Thatchfree Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Ahmed. The expensive ring was meant to be President Robert Mugabe’s wedding anniversary gift to his wife. This year is their 20th anniversary. The two wed in August 1996.
“Sometime in April 2015, the 2nd respondent (Grace Mugabe) placed an order for a diamond with my daughter in Dubai which she indicated her husband wanted to buy her for their anniversary,” reads the document.
“As the diamond was not readily available, it had to be sourced from a third party who wanted to be paid upfront and when this was advised to the 2nd respondent, she indicated that she was in Singapore and could not immediately pay and that we could pay on her behalf in Harare and she would refund the amount. That was done.
“The documents also state that Grace gave ‘approval’ for the diamond to be polished by a third party who also needed to be paid and again we made this payment on the basis that she would refund these payments as she authorised the polishing by a third party.
“Upon her return to Harare, the second respondent instructed CBZ Bank to attend to the transfer of the US$1,350 million, being the purchase price for the finished diamond, which amount took time to transfer as it had become difficult to transfer the money out of Zimbabwe. The transfer was ultimately done in May 2016 and the diamond was tendered to the 2nd respondent in Dubai.
“Surprisingly, the 2nd respondent then refused to take delivery of the diamond and instead demanded a full refund in Dubai.”
After Ahmed refused to give Grace the refund in hard cash in Dubai citing externalisation laws she instructed her son to invade the properties. Ahmed was prepared to pay Grace in instalments through the banking system.