A Lebanese businessman who is locked in a $1,3 million diamond ring wrangle with former first lady Grace Mugabe has filed opposing papers in the High Court, claiming the ex-Zanu PF women’s league secretary was approaching the courts with dirty hands.
The Daily News can report that the tycoon, Jamal Joseph Hamed, wants the court to dismiss Grace’s case, alleging her proxies were still holding on to his premises despite an eviction order issued by High Court judge, Justice Clement Phiri, on December 21, 2016.
According to summons issued by the former first lady, sometime in April 2015 Grace contracted Hamed, who at the time was a renowned diamond dealer, to provide her with a unique diamond ring for her wedding anniversary celebrations at a cost of $1 350 000.
Grace alleges that Hamed became evasive soon after payment and could not be located for quite some time, prompting her to suspect that she had been duped by the businessman.
Upon realising the lengthy delay, she demanded full refund of her purchase price.
It is being alleged that instead of refunding the money, Hamed tendered a diamond ring worth $30 000, which the former first lady declined because it was “an inferior ring”.
Thereafter, it is alleged that Hamed agreed to the full refund but only paid $120 000, forcing Grace to seek redress from the courts.
Grace is demanding $1 230 000 from Ahmed, including interest calculated from April 2015.
She is also seeking to transfer Hamed’s immovable properties into her name.
Grace has thus sought the court’s permission to execute shares in three companies linked to the Lebanese, namely Thatchfree Investments (Private) Limited, Zulaf Investments (Private) Limited and Super Earth Properties (Private) Limited.
Hamed is, however, fighting back.
In his High Court papers responding to Grace’s claim, the businessman argues that the former first lady has approached the courts with dirty hands in that her agents, who include the police, “took the law into their own hands and unlawfully occupied properties in which the defendant has an interest without any form of due process.”
He further argues that Grace and her proxies remain in unlawful occupation of the properties in which he has an interest.
“Until she vacates the said properties, the court should decline to hear the plaintiff on the basis of hers and her agent’s unlawful behaviour,” the court heard.
Hamed further claims that the money was not paid into his personal account, but into one of his companies.
“Defendant denies that the diamond tendered to the plaintiff was ‘worth’ $30 000, denies that the plaintiff in fact saw and valued the diamond, denies that the plaintiff at the same time claimed the diamond was of inferior quality or lower value and plaintiff is put to the strict proof of her claims,” he said, adding that Grace had enlisted the services of other people of persuade him to release the money through crude threats, despite the two having agreed on the mode of payment.
“Defendant pleads that the plaintiff declined the proposed mode of refund and instead unleashed a reign of terror on the defendant who was bombarded with crude abusive messages and phone calls directly and by her agents.
“Upon the plaintiff declining the proposed refund method, Diamond Village continued to tender the diamond to the plaintiff who thereafter caused her son Russell Goreraza, Kennedy Fero and other agents who declined to identify themselves to occupy five immovable properties connected to the defendant, including properties registered in the names of (other) entities…,which unlawful occupations remain to date,” Hamed said.
He further said that there is no lawful reason for the company to refund since the contract between the two still subsists.
Hamed also said the occupation of his properties has resulted in him suffering damages, adding that Grace is seeking to sanitise her actions through a court process.
The matter is still pending before the High Court.
This is not the first time Grace has been involved in a controversial business deal.
In 2011, she was caught in a spat over a $1 million truck deal with South African businessman Ping Sung Hsieh.