Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe is suing fugitive Lebanese businessman Mr Jamal Joseph Ahmed for $1 230 000 over a diamond ring deal that went sour last year. The First Lady in April 2015 approached Mr Ahmed, who was in the business of diamond-cutting and polishing and ordered a 100-carat special ring worth $1 350 000 for her wedding anniversary.She paid in advance through her CBZ Bank account. However, in breach of the agreement, Mr Ahmed failed to deliver the ring, triggering a legal wrangle.
An attempt to refund the First Lady hit a snag as Mr Ahmed only paid $120 000, leaving a balance of $1 230 000. In her suit filed at the High Court yesterday, Dr Mugabe is claiming the principal debt plus interest calculated from April 1, 2015 to the date of payment in full. Harare lawyer Mr Wilson Tatenda Manase of Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners is representing the First Lady in the million-dollar lawsuit.
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The First Lady is seeking an order declaring Mr Ahmed’s shareholding in three companies — Thatchfree Investments, Zulaf Investments and Super Earth Properties — executable. She also seeks an order allowing her to attach the businessman’s immovable properties in Avondale and Vainona, Harare, if he fails to settle the debt. Mr Ahmed holds a Zimbabwean residence permit. He is into diamond-cutting, polishing and selling. Dr Mugabe, in her declaration, stated that she contracted Mr Ahmed to supply the diamond ring in April 2015.
“The plaintiff wanted to purchase a unique diamond ring for her wedding anniversary celebrations. The parties agreed that the diamond ring would be at least 100 carats and the agreed price was US$1 350 000. The plaintiff duly instructed her bankers, CBZ Bank, to transfer the money into defendant’s bank account, to which the bank duly complied,” reads the declaration.
Mr Ahmed, according to the declaration, became evasive and could not be located for some time after receiving payment. After the First Lady put pressure on Mr Ahmed to deliver the ring, the businessman reportedly supplied a diamond ring which was far much less in value than the one paid for.
“In response, the defendant tendered a diamond ring worth US$30 000 and naturally, the plaintiff refused to take possession of an inferior ring,” the declaration reads. Mr Ahmed later agreed to pay back the $1 350 000 that had been advanced to him, and he only paid $120 000.
“Despite repeated demand, the defendant has neglected and failed to refund the full amount. The plaintiff has no other remedy but to seek redress from this very Honourable Court,” reads the court papers. Meanwhile, Mr Ahmed is on the police wanted list over an assortment of commercial crimes and a warrant of arrest has since been issued against him. In his other court cases, his lawyers have been defending him in absentia. Mr Ahmed is yet to file his response to the $1,23 million claim.