Twist in Grace Mugabe, Lebanese businessman diamond fight

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE nasty fight over a botched diamond ring deal, between former First Lady Grace and a Lebanese diamond dealer, Jamal Hamed, has taken a fresh twist with former President Robert Mugabe’s wife now being sued for US$3 ,922 million in damages for unlawful occupation of properties and defamation.

Grace and her son Russel Goreraza invaded Hamed’s properties after a dispute over the purchase of a US$1,4 million diamond ring.

In 2016, High Court Judge, Justice Clement Phiri ordered Grace and her son as well as Kennedy Fero, one of Grace’s security personnel out of the upmarket properties.

Now Hamed has approached the High Court seeking compensation for the unlawful occupation and defamation of his character by Grace who was cited as the first respondent.

Also being sued is Goreraza, Fero of the Police Protection Unit, Harare, Nyambo Viera of Harare Central Police, Law and Order Section and the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Godwin Matanga.

Hamed said the police acted contrary to their duties when his properties were invaded by protecting Grace and his son.

In the summons dated June 21 2019, Hamed is the first applicant and in order, also cited as applicants include, Thatchfree Investments Pvt Ltd, Superearth Properties Pvt Ltd, Itchester Investments Pvt Ltd, Ninjali Enterprises Pvt Ltd, New Millenium Pvt Ltd, Diamond Village Pvt Ltd, Hamed’s companies.

In his declaration, Hamed said: “During the period from October 2016 to December 2017, the defendants published certain statements during and in connection with court proceedings in HC12497/19 (Diamond case).

“In particular, Grace and Goreraza stated on diverse occasions in their affidavits that I breached an agreement for the sale of a diamond ring with Grace and had consequently been deported and banned from three African countries because of my criminal activities.”

Hamed added: “Fero and Viera stated on diverse occasions in their affidavits that I was a dangerous international criminal with far- and wide-ranging criminal activities in Zimbabwe and was being sought by Interpol in terms of a warrant of arrest.

“The above statements by the first to fourth defendants were widely published in print media and in online publications both in Zimbabwe and internationally.”

Through his lawyers Mtetwa and Nyambirai, Hamed said he had suffered irreparable damage due to the dematory statements.

“The said statements are false, wrongful and are defamatory of the first plaintiff (Hamed) in that they were internationally designed to reduce Hamed’s esteem, both professionally and personally and were understood by the readers of print and online publications that Hamed is dishonest, does not adhere to proper business ethics and is a criminal” wrote the lawyers.

Hamed claimed that the properties in question are owned by his companies adding that Grace, Goreraza and Fero unlawfully and intentionally occupied the houses after evicting his employees.

He said Grace installed armed guards from her husband, Mugabe’s office who took over full occupation and control of the premises denying his companies access.

The businessman said Grace justified the unlawful occupation saying the police who were alleged to be conducting criminal investigations against him (a fugitive from justice) occupied the houses.

In papers deposited with the High Court that has in its possession, Hamed said the defendants refused to vacate despite existence of a court order evicting them.

Broken down, Hamed wants US$2 million or equivalent RTGS being damages for defamation for wrongful and defamatory statements made during the period of October 2016 to December 2017.

Also US$342 000 is payment of damages for unlawful occupation of Nos 409 Harare Drive, Pomona,No’ 18 Cambridge Road, Avondale, 75 King George Road Avondale, Dugarvan House, Dungarvan Gardens Wilson Avenue Borrowdale all in Harare from October 2016 in respect of three properties and from December 2016 in respect of the last property to February 2018.

Payment of US$205 000 is for damages for restoration of the furniture fittings and gardens at the houses mentioned above to the condition they were in prior to the unlawful occupation by the defendants.

Payment of US$375 000 being damages for unlawful interference with contractual relations which deprived the 6th plaintiff of its right of occupation of 18 Bridge Road from the period of October 2016 to February 2018.

Finally, payment of US$1 million in damages for loss of income caused by injurious falsehoods made by the defendants against Hamed and companies.

Hamed wants all damages to include payment of interest from date of service of the summons to the date of full and final settlement and costs of suit.