Mugabe’s money: Zimbabwe’s president’s billion-dollar fortune exposed
ZIMBABWE’S embattled president Robert Mugabe is reportedly worth more than $1 billion despite his country being one of the poorest in the world.
Mugabe’s wealth has come under the microscope as he remains under house arrest in his lavish “Blue Roof” Harare compound — which has more than 25 bedrooms — following a military coup earlier in the week.
The 93-year-old dictator has accumulated significant wealth during his rule — under which thousands of people have been killed — over the past 37 years.
Local media reports suggest a small part of his fortune was reaped from Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits.
Mugabe owns the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co., but the bulk of is reportedly squandered from the country’s wealth. Mugabe has repeatedly been accused of stealing from the country’s coffers and 15 acres of land during land seizures in 2000.
According to a 2001 US diplomatic cable, later released by the whistle-blowing organisation WikiLeaks, Mugabe has about $1.75 billion-worth of assets, mostly invested outside Zimbabwe.
It said that while reliable information was difficult to find, there were rumours his assets “include everything from secret accounts in Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Bahamas to castles in Scotland”.
Opposition politicians have claimed the Mugabes own 14 farms in the bankrupt country, which would be in contravention of the constitution, which limits land holdings. The best known is the Omega Dairy farm, one of the largest dairy farms in southern Africa. Although the family has claimed not to be wealthy, Mugabe has flaunted his wealth in the past. Just three years ago, he famously dined on elephant and lion meat at his lavish 90th birthday celebrations.
Mugabe’s home in Harare is said to be extraordinarily opulent but it’s not the only mansion in his property portfolio. The president purchased a $5.2 million mansion in Hong Kong in 2013 and also owns Hamilton Palace in Sussex, UK, which was estimated to be worth about $40 million before it became a construction site.
He is also said to own a custom-built Mercedes Benz s600L that is able to withstand AK-47 bullets, landmines and grenades. It also features a CD and DVD player, internet access and anti-bugging devices. The Citizen reported that Mugabe — who is a trained teacher — also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom IV: a colonial-era British luxury car so exclusive, only 18 were ever manufactured. The vintage black car is estimated to be worth more than Zimbabwe’s entire GDP.
Mugabe’s wife, and First Lady, Grace has come under fire in the past for appearing in designer clothes and going on expensive shopping trips amid the country’s economic crisis. Her penchant for fashion has earned her the nickname “Gucci Grace”.
Grace reportedly spent $131,000 during a shopping spree in Paris in 2003. She reportedly owns a multi-million dollar property portfolio — which includes homes in Malaysia and Singapore — and a fleet of luxury cars.
Earlier this year, the First Lady went to court in an attempt to seize the assets of a Lebanese businessman who allegedly failed to deliver her a diamond ring worth more than $1.35m. She said in court papers that in 2015 she had paid in advance for the delivery of an “at least 100 carat” diamond ring for her wedding anniversary, but was instead offered an lower quality item worth $30,000.
The Mugabe children are also known for their expensive tastes.
Earlier this year the couple’s youngest son, Bellarmine Chatunga, posted on Instagram a photograph of his watch with the caption: “$60,000 on the wrist when your daddy run the whole country ya know!!!”
A video later emerged of the 21-year-old dousing his watch with a $400 bottle of Armand de Brignac gold champagne.
In September this year, Grace’s eldest son Russell Goreraza, 33, imported two Rolls Royce limousines into the bankrupt country.
Rolls Royce Phantoms cost a minimum of just under $698,000, but custom-built versions are sold for as much as $1.74 million. Media in South Africa reported the combined cost of the cars was about $6.98 million.