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Spend it like Grace!

LUSH: Grace Mugabe
LUSH: Grace Mugabe
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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, has blown an estimated £2,1 MILLION fortune feeding her insatiable love for shopping.

According to The Sun, Britain's biggest circulating newspaper with over 3 million readers daily, her biggest extravagance was blowing a cool £75 000 in TWO hours in Paris last year.

The paper named Grace in a list of spouses of the rich and famous who were "big spenders", documenting how the 40-year-old former secretary to Mugabe has "battered" the 80-year-old leader's wallet.

"Grace has managed to work her way through an estimated £2,1 million during her frequent shopping sprees," the paper said.

"The biggest battering for her husband's wallet was when Gucci addict Grace blew an estimated £75 000 in just two hours in Paris fashion houses during a jaunt last year.

"And Grace's doting husband Robert - 40 years her senior - also splashed out on a lavishly-equipped DC-9 airliner once owned by Playboy baron Hugh Hefner, as a present for her."

Grace's lavish spending has been a major discussion point in Zimbabwe for years. She has been to almost all the famous fashion houses in the world, including Harrods in London which was her favourite stop before the European Union barred her an her husband from travelling there over human rights violations.

Grace is definitely in good company in The Sun's "merry wives of wonga" list. Also listed is Imelda Marcos, wife of the late Phillippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She reputedly owns 3 000 pairs of designer shoes.

Grace's indulgencies appear all the more vulgar in Zimbabwe where almost half the country's population is in need of food aid.

Asked recently how she justified travelling to Europe to spend thousands on Ferragamo shoes while her people starved, she replied simply: "I have very narrow feet, so I wear only Ferragamo."

Grace began regularly commandeering jets from state airline Air Zimbabwe to ferry her around the world on spending sprees, tearing out seats on return flights to accommodate the spoils of her trip. The UK Daily Mirror speculated recently that they are thought to have spent £200 million on jet fuel.

In London, Grace would insist on taking over a suite at the exclusive Claridge's Hotel. Bodyguards in tow, she would cruise through Harrods before piling her purchases into her chauffeur-driven Mercedes.

On one of her London shopping sprees Grace spent £40,000 in an afternoon. At home the spending was just as spectacular.

Before the couple were married, Grace was embroiled in controversy after using £500,000 of government funds to build a 30-bedroom mansion in the capital Harare. She named it Gracelands, in honour of herself and her hero Elvis Presley.

The High Court ruled the loans taken out on the property were illegal but when Grace sold the mansion to the Libyan Government for £3 million in 2000, she kept the profits.

A year after Gracelands was sold, Grace demanded that her husband start work on a new £6million mansion outside Harare. And she went on a spending spree to kit it out. The three-storey home was fitted with imported Italian sunken baths and oriental rugs. It also has a swimming pool.

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