Harare — On Friday, a Belgium-based businessman challenged Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe’s accusation that he duped her of a $1.35m diamond ring and asked her to provide the court with evidence to back her lawsuit.
Mugabe is suing Jamal Hamed in a Harare High Court, accusing him of failing to deliver the 100-carat jewel she said she ordered from him for her wedding anniversary last year. Mugabe, who is seen as a possible successor to her 93-year-old husband, Robert, said Hamed had, instead, provided an inferior ring worth $30,000 and when she had complained had refunded only $120,000.
However, Hamed filed his own court application disputing the claim and demanded that Mugabe supply the court with details, such as a copy of the sale agreement and proof of payment before he put in his defence. Hamed’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said she had deposed the court papers on behalf of her client on Friday.
In the court papers seen by Reuters, Hamed, a British national, said Mugabe should also provide proof that he did, in fact, own the Zimbabwean companies the first lady wanted sold to recover the money. "When, exactly, is it alleged the payment was done? Full dates are required. Full details of the account holder, the account number and a copy of the account statement are required," Hamed said in the court application.
Mugabe’s lawyer Wilson Manase could not be contacted for comment.
The court case has lifted a veil on the wealthy lifestyle of the Mugabes — she is nicknamed "Gucci Grace" for her reputed dedication to shopping — at a time when Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe US dollar crunch and cash shortages.