Suitcase of cash stolen from ex-Zimbabwe leader

Published: January 11, 2019 14:35:29 | Updated: January 15, 2019 16:21:55

A suitcase containing $150,000 (£117,600) in cash was stolen from ousted Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, a court in Harare has heard.

Three suspected thieves have appeared in the court who allegedly spent the money on cars, houses and farm animals.

A relative of the ex-president is among the accused, government-owned media report.

She allegedly had keys to Mr Mugabe's rural home in Zvimba, near the capital Harare, and gave the others access, reports Xinhua.

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

"Johanne Mapurisa bought a Toyota Camry... and a house for $20,000 after the incident," state prosecutor Teveraishe Zinyemba told Chinhoyi magistrates court.

"Saymore Nhetekwa also bought a Honda... and livestock which included pigs and cattle for an undisclosed amount."

Mr Mugabe, 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.

US dollars are highly prized in Zimbabwe. In theory, the local "bond notes" that banks dispense are equal to the US currency - but in reality they buy much less.

Since retiring, Mr Mugabe has had difficulty walking and has spent several months in Singapore for medical treatment.

It is unclear if he was at home while the theft took place.

The three suspects have been released on bail. 

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