The Zimbabwe’s First Lady accused of assaulting South African model.


                  

  The Zimbabwe’s First Lady accused of assaulting South African model.


            Mrs Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwe's returned home yesterday from South Africa after failing to turn herself in to police in Johannesburg to face charges of assaulting a model in a hotel room.


There was no immediate public comment on the case from Grace, 52, a possible successor to her husband President Robert Mugabe, 93, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. But Zimbabwe government sources confirmed she had returned home.  “Yes, she is back in the country. We don’t know where this issue of assault charges is coming from,” said a senior government official, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
A second official also confirmed that Grace had returned, saying “she is around now” and accused the media of a plot to tarnish the first family’s name. Earlier, South African police had been negotiating with Grace’s lawyers to get her to turn herself in to face charges of assault, a senior police source said.
Twenty-year old Gabriella Engels told South African media Grace had attacked her after the model had gone to see the Mugabes’ sons Robert and Chatunga at a hotel in Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton district on Sunday.
         South African police minister Fikile Mbalula said early in the day Grace had already handed herself in to police and would appear in court shortly.
But in the afternoon, the magistrates’ court where Grace had been expected to be formally charged closed for the day without her appearing.
The police source said Grace had earlier agreed to hand herself over at 10 a.m. local time but failed to do so. The source said police were investigating a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Asked if Grace was now considered a fugitive, the source said that was not the case at this stage.
“One cannot be a fugitive for not appearing at a court to which they have not been summoned & when they have not been charged of any crime!” Grace’s close ally and Zimbabwe’s higher education minister Jonathan Moyo tweeted.
South African media said Grace had been in the country to have an injured foot examined. It was unclear whether she was traveling on a diplomatic passport. On whether she could be arrested despite having diplomatic immunity, minister Mbalula said: “All those implications will be taken into consideration.” He then added: “She will be charged.”
A Zimbabwean intelligence source said Grace had been traveling on an ordinary non-diplomatic passport and was in South Africa on personal business. The News24 website quoted Engels’ version of events in the hotel room. “When Grace entered, I had no idea.
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