The First Lady of Zimbabwe, Mrs. Grace Mugabe, has lost $1.3m to international fraudsters in a diamond ring deal.
The wife of Robert Mugabe said on Wednesday that she ordered a diamond ring for her 20th wedding anniversary last year, Africa Review said.
She made the admission in an affidavit filed at the High Court in Harare where she is challenging an order for her to return houses she allegedly seized from Jamal Ahmed after the diamond ring deal went sour last December.
Mrs Mugabe, often mocked in Zimbabwe for her penchant for expensive tastes, said in April last year she was linked to Mr Ahmed by the businessman’s wife Zaine during a visit to Dubai.
She said she subsequently tasked the businessman to get her a 10, 07 carat diamond that would have been used to manufacture the ring for her 20th wedding anniversary with the soon to be 93 year-old ruler.
Mrs. Mugabe transferred $1, 3m to Mr. Ahmed’s account but he allegedly failed to deliver the diamond or the ring in time for the anniversary on August 17 last year.
President Mugabe’s wife said she demanded her money back after it became clear that she had been duped.
The businessman took the First Lady court in December last year accusing her of seizing his properties in Harare and threatening to harm him.
However, Mrs Mugabe denied seizing the properties saying Mr. Ahmed was being investigated by the police for his alleged international crimes. She said she was only trying to recover her money.
“This was hard earned money saved over the years for this 2oth anniversary. I cannot keep quiet,” she said. “It’s a lot of sacrifice that my husband made from (our) farming and dairy business.”
She claimed that the businessman had promised to pay back the money and was surprised when he turned to the courts.
“The truth is that he spent the money,” she said in the court papers. “If he were honest, he should have refunded money rather than demonise me and my family.”
The First Lady said Mr Ahmed had already paid back $120 000.