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Mugabe kept US$1mln in briefcase at Zvimba home; US$900,000 stolen by staff & relatives

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By BBC.com


NEARLY $1m in cash was stolen from a briefcase belonging to former President Robert Mugabe, the state-owned media reported Saturday.

Three people appeared in court earlier this month accused of stealing a suitcase containing $150,000.

But according to “updated court documents” seen by the Herald, Mugabe says he lost much more.

The veteran leader, now 94, was forced out of office by Zimbabwe’s military in 2017.

Up to that point, he had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president.

Once famously claiming that a country could never go bankrupt, he was accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while presiding over Zimbabwe’s economic collapse.

Details of the case are emerging at a time when Zimbabwe’s dire economy has seen some food prices nearly double in the last week alone.

A violent security crackdown on protesters angry at Zimbabwe’s high cost of living forced President Emmerson Mnangagwa to cut short a trip to Europe.

Where did the money go?

The court case is ongoing, but according to the timeline of events taken from court papers and published in the Herald, Mugabe took the money to his rural home in Zvimba in a black briefcase while he was president in 2016.

Once there, he allegedly gave the suitcase to Constance Mugabe, a relative who also served as his housekeeper, for safekeeping.

The other suspects were employed as cleaners at the time of the theft, which allegedly happened some time between 1 December 2018 and early January 2019.