Zim first lady hits back in ring scandal
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE controversy surrounding a multimillion-dollar ring Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, purchased from a Lebanese businessman has taken a dramatic twist amid claims political detractors were involved in a malicious campaign against her and her family.
President Robert Mugabe’s wife alleged in her court affidavits businessman Jamal Ahmed was a conman working with her political enemies to soil her family’s image.
This is the aftermath of a controversial, botched deal that saw Mrs Mugabe last year pay Ahmed pay $1,4 million (about R21 million) for a ring to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her wedding to the president.
Papers in court indicate Ahmed failed to deliver the 10,07-carat gemstone on the agreed date in August.
She demanded her money back.
“I realised, possibly, I had been duped,” she said.
It has emerged she has also instituted legal action.
Mrs Mugabe has subsequently taken over three Harare three properties belonging to Ahmed to compensate for the loss. She has defied court orders to hand them back.
She alleged the businessman was part of a campaign to vilify the first family while opponents had made the most of the scandal.
She is increasingly wielding power in Zimbabwean politics and is said to lead a faction planning to succeed her aged husband (92).
Meanwhile, the South African-born Grace, known for her extravagance, has defended her spending on the ring.
Her actions had sparked outrage in the poverty-stricken country.
Grace she had not used state money but had saved for years through her farming and dairy businesses.
“This was hard-earned money. It’s a lot of sacrifice that my husband did,” she said in court papers.
– CAJ NEWS
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