Mugabe's wife demands $1.2m for ring deal gone sour

Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s wife has sued a Lebanese businessman for $1.2 million over a diamond ring deal that went sour.

The 52-year-old Mrs Grace Mugabe said she approached Jamal Ahmed, a diamond cutting and polishing entrepreneur, in April 2015 and ordered a 100-carat ring worth $1,350 for her 25th wedding anniversary.

She said she paid in advance, but Mr Ahmed failed to deliver the ring.

In High Court papers, President Mugabe’s wife said the businessman only paid her $120,000.

She was now claiming the outstanding payment and interest, calculated from April 1, 2015 to the date of final payment.

The First Lady wants the court to declare Mr Ahmed’s shareholding in two companies auctionable and the attachment of his two houses in Harare’s plush suburbs.

Mrs Mugabe, who is often ridiculed for her penchant for an expensive lifestyle in a country where the majority live in poverty, said she wanted a ‘unique’ diamond ring for her 20th wedding anniversary celebrations that were due last year.

Mrs Mugabe transferred $1.3 million to Mr Ahmed’s account, but he allegedly failed to deliver the diamond or the ring in time for the anniversary on August 17 last year.

President Mugabe’s wife said she demanded her money back after it became clear that she had been duped.

The businessman took the First Lady to court in December last year, accusing her of seizing his properties in Harare and threatening to harm him.

However, Mrs Mugabe denied seizing the properties saying Mr Ahmed was being investigated by the police for his alleged international crimes. She said she was only trying to recover her money.

She claimed that the businessman had promised to pay back the money and was surprised when he turned to the courts.

President Mugabe’s family runs a farming and diary business, but there were reports that the venture was struggling financially.

The veteran ruler often denies reports that he is one of the wealthiest people in Zimbabwe.

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