UPDATED: $278 000 debt haunts Grace
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
FORMER First Lady Mrs Grace Mugabe is now set to lose property after failing to pay legal fees amounting to $278 000 to a Harare law firm.
Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners, who represented Mrs Mugabe and her son Russel Goreraza in several court cases involving a $1,2 million diamond ring deal, obtained a High Court order compelling her to pay the bill plus interest.
Armed with the court order dated January 15 this year, the lawyers have instructed the Sheriff of the High Court to attach movable property belonging to the two to clear the debt.
The writ of execution reads: “You are directed and instructed to attach and take into execution the movable goods of Grace Mugabe and Russel Goreraza, the above mentioned defendants, of Blue Roof Borrowdale Brooke, Harare and 409 Harare Drive in Pomona, Harare, respectively and cause to be realised the sum of $278 304 and interest at the prescribed rate of 5 percent per annum, calculated from the date of letter of demand to the date of full and final payment in the above mentioned suit, which the plaintiff recovered by judgment of this court dated January 15, 2019 and also all other costs and charges of the plaintiff in the said suit to be hereafter duly taxed according to law, besides all your costs thereby incurred.”
The lawyers took the matter to the High Court last year after Mrs Mugabe failed to pay them the legal fees.
Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners acted for Mrs Mugabe in several court cases linked to the diamond ring deal that later turned sour.
Mrs Mugabe claimed to have paid $1,2 million to Lebanese businessman Mr Jamal Ahmed for the purchase of the diamond ring, but the deal turned sour.
In a bid to recover the money, Mrs Mugabe allegedly “grabbed” three properties belonging to Mr Ahmed.
Guards were unlawfully deployed at No. 409 Harare Drive, Pomona; No. 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale and No. 75 King George, Avondale, being properties owned by Mr Ahmed.
The actions sparked legal battles that dragged on for months.
In the process, Manase & Manase represented Mrs Mugabe, but she did not pay for the services.
The law firm took Mrs Mugabe and Goreraza to the High Court claiming the legal fees.
According to the plaintiff’s declaration, Mrs Mugabe and Goreraza approached the lawyers in December 2016 seeking legal services in respect of a number of cases linked to the diamond ring saga.
They also wanted to be legally represented in an urgent chamber application that was before the High Court under case number HC 12497/16.
Legal services rendered included attending to all litigation procedures and hearings, the drafting of court processes, consultations, round table meetings and various legal documents.
The services were rendered for a period stretching to two years.
“The plaintiff carried out its obligations by rendering such legal services with the level of professionalism envisaged in the Legal Practitioners Act (Chapter 27:07) and the Law Society of Zimbabwe by-laws,” reads the declaration.
“The plaintiff carried out its services for a period extending over two years, but to date the defendants have not paid the plaintiff’s fees for the services rendered in the above mentioned cases.”