UPMARKET houses which First Lady Grace Mugabe is accused of invading over a botched US$1,35 million diamond ring deal are mortgaged to a local financial institution BancABC from Lebanese businessman Jamal Ahmed, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
By Charles Laiton
This development comes as it emerged this week that Interpol has expressed ignorance over Grace’s claims that it is assisting in the extradition of Ahmed from Belgium to Zimbabwe to face prosecution over the diamond ring dispute.
Ahmed’s lawyers say Grace is in contempt of court by allegedly ignoring an order compelling her and her son Russell Goreraza to surrender the four properties they are accused of invading in December last year.
The properties which Grace is said to have invaded, the Independent established this week, were in fact attached by BancABC, which won a civil matter against Ahmed in an unrelated dispute involving a US$10 million loan which was advanced to the businessman in a botched diamond sale deal.
However, as the property saga continues the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) which, according to Ahmed’s lawyers, is trying to shield Grace, has also enjoined itself in the matter alleging that the seized properties were not invaded by Grace, but were taken over by the law enforcement agents as exhibits in a criminal matter involving Ahmed.
On January 4 this year, Ahmed’s lawyers, Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners, obtained a writ of ejectment against Grace, her son and Kennedy Fero, who is Grace’s aide but is also attached to the ZRP, ordering them to vacate the properties in dispute.
The writ of ejectment reads in part: “Whereas the applicants in this matter, (Jamal, Thatchfree Investments, Super Earth and Itchester Investments) c/o Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal Practitioners of No. 2 Meredith Drive, Eastlea, Harare obtained judgment in the High Court of Zimbabwe on the 21st of December, 2016, against Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe and Kennedy Fero, unlawfully occupying, No 409 Harare Drive, Pomona, No 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale, Harare, and No. 75 King George Road, Avondale, Harare, ordering Russell Goreraza, Grace Mugabe and Kennedy Fero and all persons claiming occupation through them to be ejected …”
“Now therefore you are required and directed to eject the said Russel Goreraza, Grace Mugabe and Kennedy Fero and all persons claiming occupation through them, whilst restoring peaceful and undisturbed possession of the said premises, to applicants, to the end that the said applicants may peaceably enter and possess the same.”
After obtaining the ejectment order, the lawyers then approached the sheriff with a view to enforcing the court order, but on January 13 2017, the police intervened and claimed they were the ones in occupation of the properties.
But court documents gleaned by this paper reveal that the seized properties in question were subject of a court dispute between Ahmed and BancABC, of which the latter obtained a writ of execution and was the rightful owner.
According to the court papers, sometime in April 2014, BancABC successfully obtained an order against Jamal and nine other defendants which order allowed the bank to retain the properties with a view to recovering US$4 634 547,72.
The court order obtained by BancABC expressly mentions one of the properties as number 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale, Harare, while other properties are identified by their title deeds and measurements.
“You are further required and directed to attach and take into execution: (1) certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury called Subdivision C of M.T.C. lot measuring 8 165 square metres and held under Deed of Transfer 205/10, transferred to the seventh defendant, Exodus Fuel (Pvt) Ltd on the 15 February 2010,” reads a writ by former High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.
“… (2) certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury called stand 7473 Salisbury Township of stand 7460 Salisbury Township measuring 2 221 square metres and held under Deed of Transfer 8274/10 transferred to eighth defendant, Backlodge Investments (Pvt) Ltd on October 2005; and
“… (3) certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury being an undivided 8,33% share being share No, 12 called Remainder of Subdivision G of Subdivision A of lot 15 Block C of Avondale measuring 5 657 square metres and held under Deed of Transfer 0620/09 transferred to the 9th defendant Itchester Investments (Pvt) Ltd on the 2 February 2009. Which were by order of this court bearing date 2nd of April 2014 specially declared executable to satisfy the aforementioned sum of US$4 634 547,72 together with interest thereon at the rate of 38% per annum from the 25th day of October 2013 to date of payment …”
Although the bank obtained the court orders against Ahmed and being the rightful owner of the properties, the financial institution has remained mum on the matter, possibly for fear of reprisals as the property saga is now being controlled by Grace.
This also comes as Interpol has refused to be involved in the battle between Grace and Ahmed.
In her opposing papers, Grace alleged that Ahmed had a warrant of arrest which was issued by Interpol on various criminal activities. Grace did not, however, attach the warrant of arrest to her papers.
Ahmed’s legal team, led by Beatrice Mtetwa, then wrote to Interpol demanding a copy of the warrant of arrest.
In the documents seen by this paper, Mtetwa wrote: “In proceedings currently pending before the High Court, Superintendent Nyambo Viera of the Law and Order Section in Harare stated in his affidavit that there is a warrant of arrest issued against our client and that Interpol has been requested to assist in the extradition of our client back to Zimbabwe.”
“We subsequently requested the police to provide us with a copy of the warrant of arrest and the documentary evidence confirming that Interpol was seized with the matter.
“Regrettably, none of these documents have been provided to us as the response received merely states that the matter is sub-judice,” wrote Mtetwa.
“We would be grateful if you could forward to us copies of the warrant of arrest and all correspondence from the police to yourselves requesting for our client’s extradition.”
However, a Chief Superintendent Munjeri, officer commanding Interpol Harare, referred Mtetwa back to police headquarters.
“Pertaining to your request, please liaise with Police General Headquarters for assistance,” Munjeri wrote.