Officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are reported to have abandoned the properties which former first lady Grace Mugabe had seized from Lebanese businessman Jamal Ahmed. Grace and her son Russell Goreraza were alleged to have seized five houses after a deal over a diamond ring valued at $1.3 million went sour. Grace Mugabe bought the diamond ring from Jamal Ahmed in Dubai in 2016. She is reported to have later demanded a refund when she changed her mind. However, Ahmed was unable to refund the money instantly and requested more time. This did not go down well with Grace, who allegedly sent armed men to seize the dealer’s three houses.
Ahmed’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa challenged the illegal seizure in court and won. High Court judge Justice Clement Phiri issued a provisional eviction order and ordered Grace to remove her representatives from the houses she had seized. However, Grace allegedly ignored the eviction order and went on to seize two more properties belonging to Ahmed.
Grace went on to claim that she was the victim in the dispute and accused Ahmed of joining hands with her political foes to soil her family’s image. She was later cleared by High Court judge president George Chiweshe of illegally seizing Ahmed’s properties. Chiweshe said that Justice Clement Phiri had erred and set aside his provisional ruling.
However, since the fall of Grace’s husband and former president Robert Mugabe after the military intervention in November, the ZRP officers who had been occupying the properties have since vacated.
Jamal Ahmed’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa wrote to Superintendent Nyambo Viera, who has been leading investigations into the dispute. Part of the letter reads:
We have since received information that some of the properties have since been abandoned, with at least one property being under the control of a private security company.
Our client is naturally concerned at the security and safety of his properties and the assets thereat and we request that you urgently arrange that the police in the company of our client’s representatives, attend at each one of the premises without delay so that proper inventories can be taken and so that our client can be satisfied that the assets are not in danger of being vandalised.