Zimbabwe’s former president Mugabe left behind $10m but no will

Zimbabwe’s late former leader Robert Mugabe left $10m and a number of properties but no will naming his beneficiaries, details of his estate released on Tuesday revealed.

The state-owned Herald newspaper said his daughter, Bona Chikore, disclosed the assets to the High Court after the family had been unable to locate his will.

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The money was in a foreign currency account with a local bank, the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ), according to the report.

Mugabe, who died in September while receiving treatment for prostate cancer in Singapore, also left four houses in the capital, Harare, as well as a farm, 10 cars and 11 hectares (27 acres) of land that included an orchard at his rural home where he was buried.

One of the properties is the palatial home known as Blue Roof in an upmarket Harare suburb where Mugabe lived.

The list does not include several farms that he reportedly owned or a dairy business he ran with wife Grace, or any properties outside Zimbabwe.

Under Zimbabwean laws, the estate of a person who dies without a will is distributed between their spouse and children.

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“Thus far, we have not been able to locate a will, but have sent out enquiries to other law firms, although the family members are not aware of any,” Mugabe’s lawyer Terrence Hussein wrote in a letter to the High Court that was quoted by the Herald.

A diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Harare in 2001 that was published by WikiLeaks said Mugabe was rumoured to have more than $1bn of assets in Zimbabwe and overseas but that it had no reliable information.

Social media posts showing his sons Robert Jr and Bellarmine Chatunga with bottles of expensive champagne at a Johannesburg nightclub and reports of Grace’s shopping sprees have offered tantalising glimpses of the family’s lavish spending.

A legal dispute in 2014 over a $5m villa in Hong Kong suggested the family had been buying overseas property. The government said it owned the house.

Mugabe, who died aged 95, once said in jest that he would remain in power until he turned 100.

He was ousted after 37 years in power in 2017 and replaced by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe had fired weeks earlier.

The later years of his rule were characterised by food shortages, widespread joblessness and the use of brutal force against his opponents.

Many had hoped Mnangagwa would fare better but the hardships that Zimbabweans suffered under Mugabe have returned to haunt the country.

According to the World Bank, extreme poverty is likely to affect 5.7 million Zimbabweans this year – equivalent to 34 percent of the population, after 29 percent were affected in 2018.

Gross domestic product is likely to contract by 7.5 percent in 2019, it says.

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